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It’s not just us brutal Anglo Saxons you know…

Protest outside Muenster Town Hall

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in the historic city of Münster, Germany – a university town with 50,000 students and famous as the site of the Rathaus where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.

What was not so appealing this weekend was the protest outside the historic Rathaus by a group of supporters of the Palestinians shouting quite frankly repulsive and anti-Semitic slogans while the Police looked on with cold eyes.

The rally had been called by the “initiative of the Friends of Palestine in Münster”. Bearing banners and pamphlets to express their protest the participants were mainly women with headscarves and children.

They also chanted slogans such as “child murderer Israel” or “mass murderer Netanyahu”. In a pamphlet stated: “We do not hate the Jews, but the terrorist state of Israel.”

On the opposite side of the street, under the arches, demonstrated a significantly smaller group of people for self-defense of Israel.

Heated verbal exchanges on the principal market (in the original German, translated into English by Google Translate)

It was quite clear to all concerned that the Police were not there to ensure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand (as occasionally happens with environmental and Neo-Nazi protests in Germany), but rather to ensure that the demonstrators themselves were protected from the public at large.

Marcus, my host for the weekend, is an educated native German with a doctorate in physics who spends his summer vacations building village schools in rural India, so not exactly a little-Deutschlander, but he was outraged to the point of anger that the “…spectre of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era…” (his exact words) should be displayed again on the streets of Germany.

I pointed out to Marcus that if the right to free-speech means anything, it means the right to make statements which others may find offensive and that there is no general right not to be offended.

“Quite correct”, Marcus said, “but if the protesters had been ethnic German’s rather than immigrants, then they would have been dragged away by the Police at the first anti-Semitic outburst” - this was in relation to an anti-immigration protest at the Münster Rathaus some months ago, which the police had broken up for exactly that reason.

“The police are afraid to intervene because they are Muslims” was Marcus’ final word on the matter.

Yes, there is an “Anus” in the Phillipines…

… and it is not that far from a “Bollock”.

And there is much more gold to be mined. I realised I was in the wrong job when my solar-system dynamics lecturer (he’s on the telly sometimes) Carl Murray used the phrase, “Semilatus rectum” and I was the only one to laugh. I blame Viz. And my Gran who had a turn of phrase that would shock you younglings (easily the worst line uttered by Ewan McGregor – evah).

H/T davidthompson.

The Daily Fail…

One of today’s headlines

A Metro fit for monarchy: The ‘courting car’ that Diana used while she was daring Prince Charles is put on display.

Surely “dating” not “daring”?

Although attempting to drive a Metro is somewhere on the courageous to foolhardy spectrum for they were fucking dreadful. I had driving lessons in ‘em At one point the gear-stick became detached from the entire transmission leaving me locked in third. My instructor sucked through his teeth and stated this, “happens all the time”. Somehow he managed to get the 1L engined thing back to base (nice drivin’!) and fixed. I wasn’t charged.

But back to the Mail. They do these sort of errors all the time and there is no excuse.

Idiot of the Day.

I present Maciej Maciejewski…

Not exactly a looker either...

Well, what did this intellectual giant do? In a desperate bid to be deported to his native Poland he chucked a petrol bomb into Manchester Town Hall. But wait! It gets better… He’d been living in London and travelled to Manchester to do this because “He liked London too much”. He then obtained petrol, a Budweiser bottle from a bin, tore a strip from his T-shirt for a fuse and caused GBP 250 damage to the mighty Victorian edifice. Well, it survived the Luftwaffe so a single deranged Pole*…

Anyway, he ain’t getting deported. He’s doing two years chokey. He could have killed someone. What puzzles me is how he got to Manchester. If we assume it was train or the National Distress bus that is a sum of monies roughly in the ball-park of the cost of getting Ryanair or whatever to Poland. Yes, even from Manchester. I know having done it.

I feel very sorry for this numpty. He is clearly not playing with a full-deck.

I mean there are ups, downs and creamy middles to being in the EU (which both Britain and Poland are) but the free movement of people is an unalloyed good. Oh, I know it doesn’t need the full kit and caboodle and it certainly doesn’t need my last experience at Manchester Airport where I had to have my chipped passport scanned and then stand on two footprint marks whilst my face was scanned before I was allowed through the gate. I’d only been to Holland.

*There has got to be a complex analysis joke there…

Skid Marks saved the day!

Trouble is we can’t count on terrorists to be complete morons forever, can we?

Revolutionary Rocket Could Shuttle Humans to Mars

VASIMR VX-200 Plasma Engine:

A novel plasma engine could slash travel time to Mars — now approximately three years — to just 39 days.

By Steve Nadis|Friday, April 18, 2014

Traveling to Mars is not easy, which may be why no one has ever tried. It would take a good six to nine months to get there with today’s chemical-fueled rockets. Along the way, according to a 2013 study, you’d get dosed with the radiation equivalent of a whole-body CT scan every five to six days, increasing your lifetime cancer risk above the limits set by NASA. Upon reaching the Red Planet, you’d wait up to two years for Earth and Mars to be at their closest before your return trip, which would last another six to nine months. If the cosmic rays didn’t get you, the long layover might.

But what if there were a better way — a new kind of rocket that could transport you to Mars in less than six weeks?

[Snip]

Growing up in Costa Rica, [Franklin Chang] Díaz became fascinated with all things space in 1957, when the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. He was 7 years old. Eleven years later, he secured a one-way plane ticket to the United States and arrived in Hartford, Conn., with just $50 in his pocket. He barely knew a word of English. He stayed there with distant relatives to attend high school. After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut, Chang Díaz enrolled as a graduate student in applied plasma physics at MIT, where he began research in nuclear fusion.

[Snip]

To Texas, and Beyond

After receiving his doctorate degree in 1977, Díaz continued to investigate his rocket concept, while maintaining his interest in space itself.He was accepted as a NASA astronaut, on his second try, in 1980. When his training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston got serious, he found it difficult to keep up the monthly commute to MIT, so he moved his rocket laboratory to Johnson. He went on to fly seven shuttle missions, logging more than 1,600 hours in space over the next few decades, all while maintaining an active research schedule, devoting time almost every day to work on his rocket engine.

Díaz retired from NASA in 2005 to form Ad Astra, his rocket company.

[Snip]

Ad Astra’s 20-foot-high structure [in Webster, Tex., a suburb of Houston] is tucked behind a Japanese restaurant and flanked by a Brazilian steakhouse and a tattoo parlor. Its drab, gray facade blends in with the parking lot around it. The building’s interior looks like typical open-plan office space — until you pass through a set of double doors and enter the laboratory. That’s where you might notice something out of the ordinary: a metal cylinder, 15 feet in diameter and 35 feet long, big enough to drive a school bus into. The cylinder is a vacuum chamber that simulates conditions in space. Inside lies a smaller vacuum chamber — about the size of an MRI machine — that contains the rocket’s magnets.

[SNIP of lots more, including cool diagram and photos]

Cybersecurity and the NSA

Panel discussion from last March, by members of the Federalist Society (that would be the Good Guys’ scholarly law society, as opposed to the American Constitution Society, constituted by the Bad Guys–a.k.a. “Progressives” and “Libruls”–in reaction to the evil awfulness of the Good Guys). Long, but worth it. Pros and Cons of the NSA’s warrantless data collection on Americans, including Constitutional, legal, and practical issues; and a little about the FISA Court.

In particular, Prof. Randy Barnett is his usual cogent and interesting self, and the third gent, Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, is an absolute hoot. The set of presentations is most interesting, and there are good points and food for thought.

Description and cast of characters below the video.

Description:

Published on Mar 25, 2014

The NSA acts pursuant to broad statutory authorities, and has interpreted those statutes to enable vast data collection programs. Two programs in particular, programmatic surveillance of the content of communications and bulk collection of metadata have become the subject of heated public and scholarly debate. Are these programs consistent with the NSA’s mission to gather foreign intelligence and to defend U.S. government information systems? Have the leaks about these programs jeopardized national security, or have they enhanced public accountability? Is there a better way to strike a balance between privacy and security?

The University of Florida Student Chapter hosted this panel discussion during the 2014 Annual Student Symposium on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Panel 1: “CYBERSECURITY AND THE NSA”
–Mr. Stewart Baker, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
–Prof. Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center
–Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
–Moderator: Chief Justice Ricky Polston, Florida Supreme Court

University of Florida Levin College of Law
Gainesville, FL

Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

(more…)

A “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare

Sad Obama is Sad

A federal appeals court dealt a potentially major blow to President Obama’s health care law Tuesday, ruling that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for tax subsidies.

Judge Harry Edwards dissented, calling the challenge “a not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and warning that the panel’s ruling “portends disastrous consequences.

US court deals setback to Obamacare

Good.

While having some sympathy for those caught up in the ever widening unravelling of Obamacare, folks who just want to make sure that their families can get the coverage they need at a price they can afford, the more nails in the coffin, the better.

Every time we’ve had a court case challenging the validity of Obamacare provisions, libertarians such as myself have hoped and prayed “Let this be it, let it end here…”, but so far it never has.

Why is this important? because it is the last gap in the gobbling up of healthcare provision by the US Government. They’ve taken the usual slow-pace slice-and-dice approach as recommended by Gramsci and other Marxists and are just waiting for the payoff, because when all healthcare coverage is mandated by the state, then it matters little who the actual providers are, it is socialised medicine with all the consequences that come with socialised medicine, postcode prescription, drug panels and ultimately death panels.

Anyone who tells you it ain’t so is lying.

So where do we go from here? Well as sure as eggs is eggs, there will be a lot of lying from the Democrats that this is just a transitory ruling and given the failure of the Supreme Court to actually overturn Obamacare on previous occasions (even with  Chief Justice John Roberts nominally in charge), I am dubious they will do so now, with any decision affecting the healthcare of millions of Americans.

What I expect is another fudged decision – and the inane, stupid and crippling progression of Obamacare across America – destroying freedom, jobs and household budgets along the way…

MSN bigotry

How dare Israel be better capable of defending its people than is Hamas.

 

The level of hatred of Israel in his questions is sick.

Setting sights too low

Sorry Paul, but I disagree.

Who cares that government sponsored space settlement is a bust? Did you really expect anything else?

And frankly, who cares about the moon and Mars? The hard bit is climbing out of a gravity well, and having done that why dive straight back down another one?

Space settlement won’t become viable until it can become profitable, and hunkering down on Mars will never achieve that. Hell, there is all that lovely mass just floating around up there, all in free fall, just where it will do the most good, and we are worrying about settling on a desolate and dead arse end of the universe like Mars? Come on now.

We want O’Neil habitats by the hundred. Imagine, Babylons 5, 10 and 20 by the score, scattered throughout the solar system, mining both the Trojans and Greeks in Jupiter orbit. Building fifty five dozen civilizations in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. One single proto comet would feed a respectable industrial civilization for centuries, and there are trillions of them between here and Proxima.

You think we couldn’t make a start on this, today? We got the technology to start on this right now, we just need the incentive.

Asteroid mining to provide the raw materials for manufacturing in orbit, that’s the place to start, not dicking around with Martian settlements.

Bugger Mars, the Moon and Titan.

James Garner RIP.

I kinda grew up with James Garner. While Clint Eastwood was doing Rawhide, Garner was so much more cool and sassy as Maverick, the smooth and handsome gambler in everything but fisticuffs and gunplay. A deft draw from the bottom of the pack yes, a quick draw from his holster, no… unless it was a derringer.

And I loved The Rockford Files in the 70’s. An ex con Private Investigator who lived in a trailer on a Californian beach. His Dad Rocky, an ex truck driver, who was more trouble than all his clients put together, and it was a gentle fun filled romp that lighted up our dour Brit gloom with a bit of Californian warmth and whimsy.

I never passed on a film that had his name in the titles… knowing it would not be a waste of 90 minutes. He was like the incredibly cool, world weary, wise cracking, women magnet, uncle you never had, and wished you could be like.

Thanks for all the laughs and feelgood times James…

45 years ago Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon – but humanity has done naught since.

My earliest memory is of Neil Armstrong climbing out of the module and walking on the Moon – this I remember before I have retained memories of either of my parents or myself (I was four years old as I watched it).

It was one of the greatest achievements in human history (not just by Neil Armstrong – but by the whole team of people, both on the mission and back in Houston). Perhaps this being my earliest memory partly explains why I am so passionately pro American – and why I have been for so long filled with intense agony over the decline (in so many ways) of the United States.

But what has humanity done in space after the Moon landings – what have we achieved over this Biblical period of 40 (indeed 45) years?

Apart from sending out a few robot probes, what humanity has achieved in the universe since the Moon landings can be summed up in one word.

NAUGHT.

Whilst I was mooching…

I was mooching on the Sky box and came across the latest offering from the Syfy Channel. Now seeing as their last offering was the cinematic masterpiece “Sharknado 2” I thought they might leave off for a bit but I was offered “Strippers vs. Werewolves“. It has been universally panned. It is a shame for there is a space for a SF channel (note not Syfy or even Sci-Fi) but one not showing drivel aimed at 13 year-old boys who are wanking themselves blind.

If Dumb was Dirt, this Writer would cover several acres…

If you want a good laugh, go read this (click through the 6 pages).

Now I wrote several articles for Rolling Stone in my time, a damned fine MUSIC magazine, but like NME they could never let it lie. Always had to get involved in stuff beyond their ken. A bloke name of Hunter S Thompson used to write for them as well, and would have pissed himself, stone cold sober, at this piece. He was rather fond of his guns you see, right up to his last moment.

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