According to the USA Today, September 26 – 28, front page, we are spending $10 million a day on bombing Syria and Iraq.

A single Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile, as was shown so nicely and flashing on the evening news a few days ago, costs $1.1 million.

A single Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) smart bomb costs $40,000. The hourly cost of keeping a B-2 stealth bomber in the air is $55,000.

The federal income tax that I pay every year pays for about 30 minutes of flying a B-2. It takes a lot of guys like me for a whole year to pay for a single B-2 mission, to pay for the shock and awe the warmongers are so proud of.

I don’t think this is good value for my dollars.

I thought that I had it made the most comfortable flight ever when I went on a British Airways 747 in the first class cabin. That was the only flight in my life (and I have flown over two million miles on one airline alone) where I didn’t want the flight to end after flying into Chicago from London. I wanted the flight to last longer! Here is my account from that flight.

But I never even came close to the Suites Class on Singapore Airlines. Check out Derek Low’s account of his trip here.


…and we happily let it happen. We have already spent more than $1 billion on ISIS airstrikes, and we don’t have any money to repave the crumbling roads of Los Angeles and New York.

“I’m sitting here wondering where Saudi Arabia is, where Kuwait is, where Qatar is, I’ll be damned if kids in the state of Vermont — or taxpayers in the state of Vermont — have to defend the royal Saudi family, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders – check out his video at this link.

These super-wealthy Arab nations are laughing all the way to the bank, while their royal families shop in Beverly Hills and Fifth Avenue stores.

Here is a picture of the United States superimposed on our moon. This shows that if I fly from San Diego to New York, I pretty much fly the distance of the diameter of the moon.

Size of Moon

[click for picture credit]

But it helps looking at the real size and distance. This image is to scale. Click to enlarge.

Distance of Moon

Here is what it would look like if Jupiter were as far away from us as our moon:

Jupiter at Moon

The picture above is lifted from the YouTube below – for credit.

Finally, you could stack all the other planets between the Earth and the Moon, and still have room to spare:


[click for picture credit: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com

With all our blind fury and anger at the world coming apart, about religious zealotry going crazy and scaring the shit out of us, I like to come back down to earth and think about some of the bigger wonders in the world, like the speed of things.

To muse about that, I posted in March 2013 about my coffee cup. Here is a link in case you missed it.

Speed is relative. Here is a chart I have put together to illustrate that:

Speed is Relative

There are a number of entries in this chart that I find counter-intuitive.

The very fastest rifle bullet is still only a fraction of the orbital speed of the International Space Station and the astronauts floating in it.

Any point on the surface of the earth at the equator moves about twice as fast as you do when you travel in a 747 across the ocean.

That point on the equator moves faster than the speed of sound.

The earth zooms around the sun four times faster than the orbital speed of the space station.

The Andromeda Galaxy is racing toward us about four times as fast as the earth is zipping around the sun or almost 80 times as fast as the fastest rifle bullet. But don’t worry, we won’t collide for a while yet.

And then, our galaxy is hurtling along within the “local group” of galaxies at a speed about ten times as fast as the Andromeda is coming at us, moving at about on third of one percent of the speed of light.

And all this is going on, while I am sitting here with my coffee cup, moving along for the ride in the “local group”.

Who knows how fast the universe itself is moving, and where to?


Here is a comment from one of my readers about my musings on radial Islam. I made only minor edits for grammar and typing.

So disappointed. I look forward to your blog entries. I like your relatively clear thinking. Most of the time critical thinking. However, your head seems to be firmly under ground regarding radical Islam. Whether it’s a national cult or a religious one, when the perpetrators are saying they want to kill you, then kill you, then continue to kill you…kinda clear to me. Your metaphor about a squealing bunch of kids is nice, but oh so naïve. When bullies in your neighborhood start shooting at you with guns they stole from you, do you call them crazy zealots and wish them away?. Do you admit you made a mistake leaving them out in the yard, then, bow your head out of guilt or shame and let them hack away? Probably not.

Dudes that are Islamic, Japanese, German, American of whatever religious, nationalistic, or other death cults that creates victims then kills them, and promises to continue the butchery both within and outside their “neighborhood”
are probably not groovy. If the nihilistic ideologies of the last 100 years aren’t clear, well gee.

I’m sure a number of private corporations during WWII made big bucks. You know what, critical thinking tells me that survival under Obama-Halliburton is superior thank you to Hitler-whomever or Russia-whomever or even al-qaeda-whomever.

War was declared by radical Islam well before 9-11. History is very clear to illustrate when countries and their leaders make mistakes. The U.S. is well chronicled in this area. However, history is also very clear that when a war cult says they will kill you, then enters your country and terminates how ever many thousands of people died in those towers and might have died in D.C.only apathy, weariness, or blind ideology says oops we made some mistakes, please your just crazy religious zealots, go back home, wreak havoc in your own country and don’t come back.

Now, the psychologist in me notices that CNN appears to be a brain bashing despot. packaging and repackaging various horrors over and over. Turn CNN off, do the difficult work of resourcing the best info and commentators out there and live your life. And be thankful that for the moment most of us are spared the insults of tribal savagery most of the time.

By the way, self-serving ideologies abound in the middle east, Russia, Europe and the U.S. that are profoundly fail the tenets of critical thinking. In my opinion. Please be cautious when referencing commentators that support your political narrative. Some of them, Alastair Stephens comes to mine, have singular narratives that seldom deviate from their core ideology. In Stephens case, he is an untiring “worker” for one or more socialist parties both inside and outside Russia. Here is an example:

“The following statement of the Russian Socialist Movement is an example of how socialists oppose the imperial ambitions of their own ruling class – one the Left in Britain should emulate”-Alastair Stephens -March 4, 2014-Counterfire.org.

-Imperialism Today

“The present conflict brewing in the Ukraine is a product of inter-imperialist rivalries.
The US and the European powers have been pushing expansion of the Nato and EU into the former Eastern Bloc, and increasingly up to borders of Russia.
This is neither in the interests of the peoples of those countries, or ordinary people anywhere else. The consequences of previous “colour revolutions” have not been happy.
Furthermore successful imperialist intervention in Eastern Europe will only act to encourage such action elsewhere in the world, with the Middle East the top of that target list.”

I am quoting at length because this is the same language, the same logic, the same themes that were peddled on the streets of Berkeley in the early 70’s. I was as counterculture as they come, still I could recognize ideology not rational analysis. Apparently, not much has changed.

I used to publish a copy of my blog posts to Facebook. This is done automatically with the Sharing feature in WordPress. It works quite nicely.

But when I tried to purge my posts from Facebook, I realized there is no way to do it but one at a time. It takes FOREVER. I have now worked my way back to February 2013. Whenever I go into Facebook now, I try to purge a month’s worth of posts. That’s all I do. One post at a time.

Facebook has no way to batch delete material. They obviously and purposely make it very difficult and arduous, so nobody does it. It has become obvious to me that my material does not belong to me, but it belongs to Facebook. I am just the product they are marketing.

There are, supposedly, scripts you can download that somehow purge your entire timeline. I have tried several to no avail. Either they don’t work, or I don’t know how to make them work. I am stuck with deleting one post at a time.

Since I don’t remember exactly when I started sending posts to Facebook, and since there are over 2,200 posts in this blog, I have work to do.

I don’t think it will affect my readership here at all. I have done experiments before where I stopped posting for a month or two, and nobody noticed, nobody said anything, and my readership counts didn’t dip.

The moral of this story: Beware what you post on Facebook. It’s there for good, unless you work very hard and patiently to get it back off.

Norbert Haupt:

I posted this over a year ago. So true again today.

Originally posted on Norbert Haupt:


(via @NewsNinja2012)

I don’t know if this is a real sailor or an actor, if the photo is authentic or not, but I do know it sums up how I feel about what our country is currently engaged in.

View original

While waiting for a plane at what I knew to be the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, I decided to look at some statistics. And I noticed that there was a massive change from 2003, ten years ago, to 2013, the most recent full year of statistics. My data is from Wikipedia.

In 2003, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson had 79 million passengers. That grew to 94 million passengers in 10 years. For both, Atlanta was the world’s busiest airport.

In 2003, five of the world’s busiest airports were in the United States, namely Atlanta,  Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Denver. The only Asian airport on the list was Tokyo.

Busiest Airports 2003

[click to enlarge]

In 2013, there is a significant change: Atlanta is still in the number one slot. However, Beijing, which was not even in the top 30 ten years ago, is now in slot number two, with 83 million passengers.

I predict that in less than ten years, Beijing will pull ahead of Atlanta.

There are only four U.S. airports in the list of the top ten. Surprisingly, Dubai has inched up to number seven in 2013, and in 2014 (not shown here, since it’s only a partial year) Dubai has already pulled ahead to number three, past Heathrow. Along with four U.S. airports, there are now four Asian airports in the list of the top ten.

Busiest Airports 2013

[click to enlarge]

These are strange statistics, since airport passenger traffic really does not mean much. So what, you might say.

To me, it is a significant indicator of economic activity. Clearly, a lot of people travel in and out of China, and I am sure even more people commute through Beijing’s airline hub every day. And what about Dubai. Surely there can’t be enough worthwhile destinations in Dubai itself to warrant this amount of traffic. However, being centrally located, Asian traffic is choosing Dubai for a stopover in many directions. Again, economic activity in Asia shows its traces.

The world, it is a-changin’.

So we started another insanely expensive shooting war. Pundits say it will go on for years.

There is one clear winner already obvious:


The United States has started a bombing campaign in yet another country: Syria. Syria is none of our business; and Syria is an Islamic country. We seem to love bombing Islamic countries, and we wonder why Muslims hate us and become terrorists that want to attack us.

President Bush is on record for bombing two countries: Afghanistan and Iraq. Some claim that Yemen and Pakistan should be included, but I can’t find conclusive evidence, so I’ll say: Bush bombed between two and four countries.

President Obama, a Nobel Peace Laureate, no less, has now bombed seven  nations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and now Iraq.

Only Clinton, the “other democrat” of the last thirty years, has bombed more nations, namely thirteen: Somalia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia 1993, Haiti 1994, Croatia 1995, Zaire 1996, Liberia 1997, Albania 1997, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Iraq 1998, Yugoslavia 1999, and Yemen 2000.

Everyone keeps stating that there is nothing else we can do.

The “Islamic State” is not a state, but a bunch of religious zealots, criminals with delusions, who have been given weapons, in part by us. They are acting like spoilt toddlers, screaming their heads off to get attention. And rather doing what good parents do that have unruly toddlers, namely ignoring them, we’re giving them lots of attention, like sticking something sweet in their mouths every time they open them. That strategy does not work with toddlers, and it does not work with zealots either.

The United States and its vassals should get out of the Middle East and let the Middle Eastern nations, in their Muslim strife, do what they have done since the day Muhammad died on June 8, 632, when disagreements broke out over who his successor would be, and when two major factions of another world religion of power, suppression and deceit was started.

For 1,382 years Muslims haven’t been at peace. Now emperor Obama and our illustrious thinkers in Congress believe they can make it not be that way.

Breeding more terrorists, that’s all we’re doing.


Norbert Haupt:

I have flown in and out of Chicago hundreds of time, but was never lucky enough to see it like this.

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

There will be much persiflage and little hard thought today, as the Albatross needs some preening, as well as spell-checking. This quote from Winston Churchill (who wrote far more easily than I did—in fact, he often dictated his books to secretaries) perfectly summarizes the experience:

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

The monster is about to be slain. Sadly, I’ve never gotten to the “toy and amusement” stage. . .

But I digress. I wish I had taken this picture, but it comes from imgur, kindly forwarded by reader John. I’ve flown over downtown Chicago many times (that’s…

View original 16 more words

Supply of Fossil Fuels

Norbert Haupt:

True three years ago, true today. Every day we burn as much oil as it took nature 5,000 years to “create.” Of course, those that believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old will have a problem with this math.

Originally posted on Norbert Haupt:

The most common fossil fuels we are using are oil, coal and natural gas. We started using them in earnest about 125 years ago, when combustion engines were invented. Of course, it started small and gradually increased, and today we are burning more fossil fuels than ever.

Estimates range widely on how much we have left. Some experts say there is only a 30 year supply of oil left. Others peg it at about 100 years. For the sake of making this simple, let’s say we have only used up half of all the fossil fuels in the world by now, and to make it even simpler, let’s say that our use is the same daily, from 125 years ago to 125 years in the future.

This would mean that mankind is using up all of coal, gas and oil on earth over a 250 year span.

It took nature…

View original 81 more words

Does Yelp Help?

YelpA few weeks ago I was in Atlanta for a few days, and I spent the last night at a hotel near the airport. I had a rental car, so I was able to go to dinner away from the mediocre hotel restaurant. As I always do, I searched Google Maps for nearby restaurants and found a number of choices. Then I checked out the reviews.

It’s wonderful that we can now read what other people thought about a place of business, like a restaurant, before we actually patronize it and spend our money there. The problem I find I have is that there are always adverse reviews, along with the good ones, and I tend to focus on the one-star ones.

Somebody always hated something – everywhere. And one by one I eliminate my choices, so that out of the 20 restaurants in the immediate vicinity of my hotel, I ended up with no candidates where I wanted to eat.

I have similar experiences with Amazon book reviews. No matter how good the book is, there is always somebody with a one-star review which skews all the other ones.

And hence the question and first world problem:

Does Yelp help?

Barry McGuire wrote Eve of Destruction in a single session in 1965. It became a number 1 hit and it made McGuire one of the classic “one hit wonders.” I recently listened to it again and I was amazed that 49 years after it was written, it rings as true today as it did in the sixties.

  • Ok, there is still “hate in Red China” but there is lots of hate in other places. Red China just has started making all the stuff we use in the whole world now. So we have to live with them.
  • You don’t go to space for four days, you go for four months, but when you return, it’s still the same old place. Except, we need Russian capsules now to get there.
  • We don’t have issues in Selma, Alabama now, but we have them in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • And we’re totin’ more guns than ever.
  • More than handfuls of senators still don’t pass legislation.

Barry McGuire probably didn’t know how visionary his song was at the time. Here he is in 2011:

Of course, if you want to hear the original version, here it is:


“Eve Of Destruction”

The eastern world it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction

Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for four days in space
But when you return it’s the same old place
The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

And tell me
Over and over and over and over again my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction
Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction



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