MORE BRAIN SQUEEZINGS

4 11 2007

In response to valid complaints about the lack of content here, I will be attempting to increase my post frequency. I prefer to post only when I have something worth saying, but I have been getting prodded by others to say more- whether it’s worth saying or not.

CARTOONS

Why does it seem so hard to find cartoons these days? Cartoon Network would seem to be a good place to look, but every time I click over to them, there’s some sort of  live-action show going on. About the only time I can find cartoons on Cartoon Network is after 11PM, when Adult Swim comes on. There’s some good stuff on Adult swim- notably Robot Chicken and Cowboy Bebop (among others), but I miss the cartoons I used to watch.

Lest this be mistaken for a screed against modern cartoons, let me assure you that I appreciate some of the newer cartoons. Samurai Jack, PowerPuff Girls, Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and Courage the Cowardly Dog were some of my favorites. I say “were”, because those cartoons are now difficult or impossible to find. I’m not even talking about Bugs and Daffy and their contemporaries- which are politically incorrect and therefore cannot be broadcast for fear some innocent little crotch-fruit might be irreversibly damaged psychologically. I’m referring to more recent cartoons such as Animaniacs, which has dropped off the face of the Earth, as far as I can tell.

ON CIVIL DISCOURSE

This ties in with several other posts I’ve made here, but I’ve noted a distinct decline of civility in public debate recently. It’s worse on the web, of course, where people feel safely anonymous and don’t think they have any need to be civil. Debate has also stopped being civil in politics and the media.

Here’s a clue, people: You need not be disagreeable when you disagree. It is entirely possible to disagree with someone and not be their enemy. Try it sometime.

WEATHER IDEOLOGY 

Before I begin, I should get this out of the way:  “chest-deep snow, uphill both ways, dinosaurs to school, yaddayaddayadda”.

Now that I’ve performed the requisite “back in MY day” nonsense, let’s proceed.

The folks at the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service predicted a big year for hurricanes this year. And last year. They were wrong, twice. No big deal, though. Long-range forecasts are pretty tough. The problem lies in why they made the wrong predictions. Make no mistake, the actual meteorologists who work for the Weather Channel have some really impressive education behind ’em. They also have access to some truly phenomenal technology to help make those predictions. Weather forecasting has come a long way from the days when forecasters used a handkerchief nailed outside the window as their weather gauge.

Here’s my sole evidence for the charge I’m about to make: back in July of this year, I loaded up the NOAA website in order to check the satellite data during Hurricane Season (I do this every year). After watching the weather patterns over the Atlantic for a couple of weeks, I noticed that the weather patterns looked more like a standard winter cycle than the usual hurricane cycle. Most unusual. I wrote to the NOAA and asked them if I was missing something. Someone at the NOAA emailed me back and said that I was indeed wrong, and the very strong hurricane cycle NOAA had predicted would show up on schedule- in August and September.

Fair enough. They have the education and training and technology, and I don’t.

Not fair- the weather patterns did not shift northward as predicted, and the OMG we’re all gonna get hurricaned to smithereens  hurricane season failed to materialize. Why was I more right than the NOAA and the Weather Channel?

I think the people at the National Weather Service are following ideology in lieu of science. The people with the greatest control over the careers of meteorologists all have a vested interest in a busy (and destructive) hurricane season. First, a bad hurricane season would be good for ratings. Second, a bad hurricane season would fit their political ideology. A bad hurricane season would help convince the general public that Global Warming is a clear and present danger. Meteorologists who fail to toe the line about Global Warming are threatened with losing their certification.

I could be wrong. Probably am. But it bothers me that I could do a better job than trained meteorologists this year.

PIRATES

Piracy is back in the news. Low-budget toadies with Zodiacs and RPGs are preyings on shipping near Indonesia and  Somalia. I’ve heard a lot of people asking why the US Navy doesn’t do something about it.

First, the USN can’t operate in another country’s territorial waters without their permission. Since the pirates near Somalia are almost all Somalis, the Somalian “government” (such as it is) is unlikely to allow the Great Satan to vaporize some of its most productive citizens. Indonesia has a real government, without any vested interest in piracy (in fact, problems with shipping near Indonesia are a major government problem), but is simply incapable of dealing with it (earthquakes, volcanoes, armed insurrections, government scandals, etc).  They are similarly unlikely to allow the US Navy to conduct combat operations in their waters.

Here’s my idea for a solution. Get the giggling old women and virgins at the UN to pass a resolution against piracy, specifically authorizing nations and corporations to destroy pirates wherever found. Establish a fund (paid into by interested nations and companies) to build and maintain a maritime security service. This service would provide armed personnel with combat training (and equipment)  who could sail aboard ships running through pirate-infested waters. I’m sure the various shipping companies (and their insurers) would be willing to do this. Countries with decent navies (Australia, UK, France, US, Japan) could patrol those waters with destroyers and render assistance where requested. After a few run-ins with warships and armed Maritime Security personnel, even the truly desperate pirates would start looking for a safer line of work.

THAT’S ALL FOLKS

That’s it for now. I’m off to don my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie and subscribe to some conspiracy theory newsletters.

Current status: meh

Current music: Who Made Who by AC/DC

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