Oh yeah, it's the news


Boy, I should really update this more often. You know it's bad when the cookie for your account expires making you relogin everytime you go to add something. Ah well. Hopefully I'll get some more stuff up soon. I'm hoping to write a little, but we'll see how that goes.


On War and Nations (but that is far too strong a title for what's below)

The following is my response on reddit to the following comment:

"Interestingly, while on its face the comic argues for greater empathy with foreigners, it's also arguing for the end of non-interventionism, the very policy which would have kept us out of the Iraq & Vietnam messes."

During the Second World War, we were fighting against a country that, amongst other things, had invaded (and was in the process of invading) others. The same was true in Korea, and in the first Gulf War. The current Iraq war and (I would argue) the Vietnam war were fought against soverign nations in their own right whom had done nothing to other soverign nations.

I admit I am not a strong supporter of war in any form, but protecting the sovereignty of other nations is important; in effect, it is the first assurance for self-determination. But more, it is an act to stop an agressor. (It very much bothers me how this point is lost in discussion of these wars, especially the current one, at least in America).

Now, are there other reasons to go to war without direct provocation; that is to invade another soverign nation that has not directly harmed another? That is a far more difficult question, and one that I think goes unexamined far too much. For example, stopping a genocide is undoubtedly a good cause (if it can be done), but who has the authority to do so, and why? If it is only might makes right, or even if you just try to leave it in the hands of a "benevolent" superpower, all you have done is create a tyrant. See how the US has abused its position of power in many other nations defending its own interests, all under the banner of ensuring peace or "spreading democracy." And even in an ideal case, say a powerful but benevolent United Nations, there is still no protection against a tyranny of the majority against any opinion it does not hold (for example, the economic tennants of Mr. Marx).

It's one thing to stop an agressor nation; indeed it is hard to defend not stopping them. But the question becomes far, far more difficult when one nation invades another whom had not directly done harm to it. Indeed, the question is so convoluted that for sixty years the US has been able to gloss the question with platitudes and proceed to act only according to its percieved interests.

That's no way to run any system, even from an American perspective.


Feelings in Graphic Form

Anyone else ever feel that way?

By the way, in case you were wondering, sometimes this little graphic kick I seem to be on isn't all it's cracked up to be.



Government in Graphic Form?

You know, the shape and functioning of governments has always interested me. Perhaps it's a bit of my engineering bent, it's certainly also touches some of my philosophial beliefs, but I love to see how they work, and see how they can be improved. So, here's a quick, unfleshed out idea for local government:

Still some details missing, but hey, it's a quick first draft in a quick sketch. I think it's kinda cool.


Arthur Dent would be Proud,-1.952112&spn=0.003218,0.007274&t=h&om=1

Apparently, they couldn't be convinced to sell their house for the motorway project, and successfully argued that the historical value of the house was enough to not justify its via eminent domain.

Pyhrric victory comes to mind. But you don't have to worry about neighbors. At least of the stationary kind.

Update: BBC article with more details.


Strong-Bad School of Logo Design?

Strong-Bad School of Logo Design?

So, I was playing around with logos and stuff, and a silly one for this site just happened to come up. But I couldn't leave it at that, oh no. By the time I was finishing up, I realized I was following the Strong Bad School of Logo Design. Without the fangs, of course. Fangs are silly.

Oh, sure it has some problems, and it isn't going to take over this site's logo any time soon, but its gotta be worth something. Anyone? Anyone?

That is to say, anyone need a molten-plexiglass logo? I might be able to hook you up. Even with not so silly designs.


A Treatise on Pants

Dammit, I just ripped another pair of jeans. Yes in the same place. Top of the leg, thigh side. Damn it.

Trivial you say? Well, yes, it is indeed. But on the other hand, I've never heard of someone else having this problem. Oh yes, jeans wear, slowly, but they don't thin and fail. Not like they do for me. At least, no one else I know has fessed up to it.

But I'm not trying to bore you with "Trite Inconveniences From Blair's Life." That's next season. No, I have a theory. And I think it has to do with wash intervals.

You see, the nicer a woven material is, even denim, the thinner each individual fabric is (even if you need many more to reinforce the garment.) However, as you wear fabrics, denim especially, it loosens up. The constant pulls and tensions of everyday life start to pull apart the weave. Now, in and of itself, this isn't a bad thing- oftentimes pants will be too tight the first time you wear them, then nice for a couple of wears or so until wash time.

But the more wears between washes, normally not a problem with jeans as long as you don't abuse it (ahem, self, I'm looking at you), the material gets looser. Eventually you can start to see more light through the weave then you would expect; certain patches of high tensile wear start to thin out, get softer. And then, in one not-so-stressful pull, you get a rip. An annoying stress rip, one that can't seamlessly be repaired. Not that you'd really want to, seeing as by that time the entire region (and often many more) are in the same state, which would lead to replacing the pants from the inside out, not an efficient system.

My first reaction to this theory is how counter intuitive it seems: with the exception of strenuous activity, most of the time the thing that is hardest on clothes is washing them. It's one reason it pays to be gentle and thoughtful when you do the wash, at least if you don't want your things to look like they came out of the bottom of a Salvation Army $1 bin. But I think I can reconcile this piece of data. New pants, no matter how long between washes, don't exhibit this wear pattern. They need to have at least been broken in for this to occur. I hypothesize that, because clothing gets much of its tensile strength from having a tight mesh, it actually gets weaker the longer between washes. At first, this isn't an issue; most clothes are more than tough enough to withstand a couple of wearings of good stretches. But everytime you go beyond that, there may very well be more damage done to the individual threads in the mesh: because they are relatively farther away from their mates, they must do more work.


"I was a tool of Satan"

Highly recommended article from the Colombia Journalism Review. Very interesting points, which I need some time to mull over. Would be interested in any of your opinions.


A question

If now's as good a time as any, does that imply that it's also as bad a time as any?