Tag Archives: Kvick Tänkare

Kvick Tänkare

Apparently, being a survivalist isn’t a U.S. phenomenon…Russia has at least one as well.  I can’t tell if he’s got tin foil under that do-rag though…

Remember…government screws everything up and can’t possibly run a for-profit company efficiently…Sweden’s 27 fully or partially state-owned companies are on track to break the combined profit record set in 2006. I send this stuff to my father when he gets all Glen Beck-y on me about the ‘fact’ that anything the government touches turns to dust and the private sector sprinkles  fairy dust over us and would never, ever do anything immoral, illegal, or even slightly distasteful.

I’m really no fan of our public school system.  Not because of the quality of the instruction (I really have no idea what it’s like today – it sucked in the mid-80s) but rather because of the broader cultural message it teaches children:  conform and submit to authority without question.  Worse, even if you do question particular decisions of existing authority, never, ever question the underlying system.  So, here’s an article which confirms my preexisting predilections about the dangers of our zero-tolerance policies in schools.  (h/t boingboing)

And we finally get to the bottom of another Starbucks controversy.  Are the founders of Starbucks so anti-Swedish that they can’t even say the word and have to use ‘Norse’ as a substitute?  I wonder how much outrage I can muster?

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

I know my posts have consisted of a bit more fluff than usual but:

  1. I’m working on a project at work and need a bit of a break when I get to blog and,
  2. that’s one of the things I really enjoy about my little project here.  I can follow my whims and not get bound by artificial restrictions.

Anyway, I imagine I’ll be getting back to more weighty topics next week.  But for now:

Your Swedish headline of the day:

Blow for bishop as orgasm church flops

Comrade Bear shoots a whale.  Does the Kremlin count as his lair or should he really have a base under a volcano or something?

Putin held his balance in a rubber boat that was being tossed around in choppy waters off the Kamchatka Peninsula, and eventually hit the whale with a special arrow designed to collect skin samples.

Courtesy of Balko, more homeland security nonsense.  Seven people dressed up as zombies and decided to go to the local mall to protest consumerism.  Someone saw their PA system and, freaking out, called the cops who arrested them for:

…disorderly conduct and said the zombies’ homemade public address rig looked like a weapon of mass destruction.

The zombies sued and the city council decided to settle for $165,000.  Good for them.

YT sent me this article about the unveiling of the Iranian drone bomber thingy.  Leave it to the Iranians to screw up on the messaging…

“The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship,” said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony, which fell on the country’s national day for its defense industries.

WTF does that mean?!  I guess he had an extra dose of crazy with his breakfast.

Is it me or would Putin, Assange and Ahmadinejad make a great league of super villains?  It wouldn’t be a stretch to give them superpowers…Putin could be like Colossus, Assange could be the Leader.  I’m not sure about Ahmadinejad…someone crazy and out of touch with reality…Green Goblin, maybe?

Kvick Tänkare

Chinese sci-fi is growing in popularity but you probably won’t find much in the distopian genre.

Which is more shocking?  Squid can fly or that there exists “a LISTSERV dedicated to mollusks”?  Still, this is pretty cool:

…”gliding” is too passive a term to describe what squid do when they leave the ocean for the air: “flight” is more fitting…”One of our co-authors saw them actually flapping their fins. Some people have seen them jetting water while in flight.

Lunghu made a number of predictions earlier this year and now gives them a mid-year evaluation.

I always find it interesting how often our politicians (and fellow citizens) claim to support families and children but, when it comes right down to it, so rarely put their money (or anything else) where their mouth is.  Case in point:  family leave.  If you have a child, what can you expect?  A few weeks of unpaid leave, usually (if you can afford it).  After that, it’s get your ass back to work.  The Boston Globe has an article asking if we perhaps should do a bit more.  (h/t Phronesisaical).  Uh…and just for the record, the socialist hell-hole Sweden allows parents a total of 16 months of parental leave at 80% pay that can be taken up until the child turns 10 years old (Oh, please, why won’t Sean Hannity save those poor people?!)  Us?  Talk about raising the minimum wage a nickle an hour and you’ll hear howls about how we’re strangling the small business owner to death.

Britain is announcing it’ll be withdrawing its combat troops from Afghanistan by 2015.  Can anyone really make predictions like that?  I’ll just note that the time between now and then is almost the same amount of time that the U.S. was involved in the Second World War.  A lot can happen in four years.

It’s like the right isn’t even trying anymore.  Remember when they could come up with kinda-sorta coherent delusions to get everyone scared?  Now we’re looking at terror babies?  The only question is how in the world can we be in a place where these knuckleheads might actually get back in power?

Sven has a very interesting interpretation of the evolution of the Greek phalanx.

Kvick Tänkare

Great headline:  Monkeys hate flying squirrels, report monkey-annoyance experts. (h/t Boingboing)

IBM has created a web-based version of the CIA factbook.  There’s enough variables to filter, views to alter and colors to see that even the most jaded of you will start to drool. (h/t sources and methods)

Sitherine is coming out with a new game that looks fun.  Battlefield Academy is based on a free BBC game of the same name.  You can still play the BBC versions with allow you to fight the Battle of Trafalgar or the original games which takes you through Rome, the Middle Ages, Napoleon’s time and WWII.

Peter talks about the Soviet withdrawal from his country (Hungary).

FBI epic fail.  Wikimedia epic win!  Hopefully the FBI realizes they are in a hole and will stop digging.

Lung Hu has two great posts worthy of your attention both revolving around that Iranian scientist defector/abductee/whatever Sharram Amiri. If you like your international relations with a lot of alternate hypothesis you probably haven’t heard before, check it out.

Kvick Tänkare

The next time your special someone sings that Modern English classic to you, ask them if they’re aware of the serious consequences of their whim:

All Antarctica would be under water at this point. The north polar waters and the water over the vast, recently submerged territories in Siberia and Canada would be getting deeper. At the same time, equatorial waters would be getting more shallow.

Large land areas near the equator continue growing and join with each other. By now, nearly all of Canada, Europe, and Russia are covered by a northern circumpolar ocean.

Peter from the blog The Strategist has returned to blogging life with his observations during a month visiting Vanuato.  His blog is called ‘Archipelago‘.

Speaking of the sea…Palmyra atoll is a mystery.

There is a far higher biomass (essentially poundage) of predators than there is prey, turning the pyramid on its head. How the system can support so many predators is still a mystery.

An article in the Atlantic says that our higher education system is deeply flawed and a waste for most students.

Steve replies ‘nuts to that!’  Well, ok, he said a little more than that.

Corona beer is vile and I won’t allow it in my house.  I apparently not only have good taste in beer but a highly attuned sixth sense for foiling terrorist plots.  Note to al-Qaeda:  You’re going to have to work harder to catch us at that little game.  Really, if you’re going to assassinate someone with beer spend a buck you cheapskates and get a nice microbrew.

EnglishRussia has some really cool illustrations for a children’s magazine.

Kvick Tänkare

This article (I can’t remember where from now..mea culpa!) discusses some interesting and disturbing research if you’re looking for underlying causes why some countries ‘made it’ and others have struggled.  Don’t think colonialism or slavery…you have to go much further back.

1500 AD technology is a particularly powerful predictor of per capita income today. 78 percent of the difference in income today between sub-Saharan Africa and Western Europe is explained by technology differences that already existed in 1500 AD – even BEFORE the slave trade and colonialism.

The state of technology in 1000 BC has a strong correlation with technology 2500 years later, in 1500 AD.

This dude has had his house hit by meteors six times!  Now, he might be the only guy in the world who can say this and not be dismissed as a kook out of hand:

“I am obviously being targeted by extraterrestrials,” he said.

Snapshot of economic attitudes in America: Mrs. TwShiloh was shopping and a man was behind her in line with one or two items.  Mrs. TwShiloh, having a fairly full cart and, more important, handfuls of coupons said:

“If you’d like you can go ahead of me.  I’ll probably take a while with all these coupons.”

To which he replied:  ‘No problem…I like to see capitalism get ripped off.’  I think it’s reasonable to assume that guy didn’t purchase a copy of ‘Going Rouge’.

H/T Balko for a link to this story about a mashup between NGOs and an Abbott and Costello routine:

The World Health Organization found itself Friday in the strange position of defending North Korea’s health care system from an Amnesty International report, three months after WHO’s director described medicine in the totalitarian state as the envy of the developing world.

Cynic is guest posting for TNC and he raises some interesting questions about the intersection of COIN and law enforcement.

Last year, our forces shot and killed 36 Afghan civilians, and wounded more than twice that number, as their vehicles approach convoys and checkpoints. And not once since McChrystal’s arrival have any of those we’ve shot proved to be a genuine threat. Imagine, if you will, that the NYPD had a record like that.

Look out Stephen Colbert.  Bears may be a big threat now but global warming may put giant marmots at the top of the threatdown.

Neo-Nazi clothing maker throws a hissy fit when some people decide to market their own line of clothing mocking them.  If you’re going to be a nazi, you probably shouldn’t be a whiner as well.

Kvick Tänkare

Ta-Nehisi has a great post about the case of the D.C. detective pulling a gun on a bunch of people throwing snowballs.  The detective is claiming that he thought an angry mob of  anarchists were threatening him and he feared for his life and so pulled his gun.  Yeah…cause anarchists attack a whole lot of cops…and snowball them to death.  Maybe…maybe, he’d have a case if the G20 was meeting at the time and he was in the area of protests.  But no, Baylor was in civilian clothes and a civilian vehicle.  There was no way he’d have been identified as a police officer.  That means Baylor had to be under the assumption that these ‘anarchists’ were on some sort of racial attack.  Yeah…cause as widespread as anarchists attacking police officers is, it’s even more common for them to lynch random black people.

As Coates sums up:

…it’s good to know that Detective Baylor won’t be, like, fired or anything. Wouldn’t want a cop who feels endangered by snowballs to be bounced off the force. The rough streets of D.C. need men with that kind of mettle.

If you are the sort of person that worries about the carbon footprint of food, don’t feel guilty about bananas.

Bananas are a great food for anyone who cares about their carbon footprint. For just 80g of CO2e you get a whole lot of nutrition: 140 calories as well as stacks of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fibre. All in all, a fantastic component of a low-carbon diet.

• They are grown in natural sunlight, which means that no energy-intensive hot-housing is required.

• They keep well, so although they are often grown thousands of miles from the end consumer, they are transported by boats, which per kilo of freight transported emit only 1% as much CO2 as planes do.

• There is hardly any packaging, if any, because they provide their own. (You might sometimes see a bunch in a light plastic bag or wrapper, but this probably pays for itself carbon-wise by reducing the chance of customers ruining the fruit when they try to split a bunch.)

“You get to play with very large toys in the oil industry.”  A great explanation of the science behind the BP oil spill.  (h/t Phronesisaical)

I was never a big fan of Andrew Sullivan’s ‘View from your window’ (probably because he refused to publish my own, most excellent entry) but he’s now got a contest where you guess the location of the shot.  It’s quite amazing to read the logic people use to figure out where the picture was taken.  I only wish they published all the guesses.  Great critical thinking exercise.

Kvick Tänkare

Iron Sky is a move project funded in part by people who like the idea of the film.  And what’s not to like.  The Earth is about to be invaded by Nazis who escaped Germany in 1945 to build a secret moon base.  After decades of constructing their swastika shaped base and marshaling their forces, they’re poised to launch their fleet of flying saucers and attack.  Check out the trailer at their website:

The Pirate Bay is having trouble finding a host since the EU is hot on their tail and trying to shut them down.  Fortunately, the Swedish Pirate Party has promised to help them out if elected to the Riksdag.

The Swedish Constitution is often ignored, but it contains an interesting detail. It says that MPs can not be sued or prosecuted for something that is done as part of their political mandate.In practice, this implies total immunity for any political action taken within this working environment. Some of the Pirate Party’s prospective MPs intend to use this to host the entire Pirate Bay from inside the parliament, if today’s operators of the site accept this and if we win a place in parliament in the Swedish elections on September 19.

Heh…There’s something poetic about hosting Pirate Bay in the legislative body that’s tried to outlaw it that I find kind of appealing.  Gotta love those Swedes.  I’m particularly unsympathetic to the entertainment industry after talking to a co-worker who wanted to purchase a DVD of a favorite movie but was presented with one special edition with deleted scenes and another with interviews and commentary.  Doesn’t such a blatant and shabby attempt to fleece fans really just ask them to tell the entertainment complex to go eff themselves and encourage piracy?

Let’s just keep ginning up the fear machine.  That’s why, apparently, the Louisiana legislature was convinced that what their citizens really needed was to be able to protect themselves by carrying concealed firearms in highly dangerous places like…churches.  ‘Cause church crime is really at epidemic levels.

Tired Gay succumbs to Dix…just click the link.  Whoever writes headlines for Reuters deserves a job at the Onion.

Kvick Tänkare

Nice video about the war on drugs (h/t daily dish)

The reliability/credibility ratings most intelligence personnel use in the U.S. is bunk and information to that effect has been known since 1975.

I want one….now!  And please don’t burst my bubble by telling me how impractical it is.

I have no idea what this game will be but the promo video has a 1984 feel to it and I’m a sucker for distopian entertainment….

Yesterday the Swedes officially ended conscription and are now converting to an all volunteer force.

Machine teaches men what it feels like to menstruate.  And why would I want to know that?  I also don’t know what it feels like to have hemorrhagic fever, is some knucklehead going to make a simulator for that too?

Kvick Tänkare

In some disappointing news, Peter over at The Strategist has decided to go on a (hopefully) temporary blogging hiatus.  Peter has been a consistently strong blogger both in terms of content and writing style and I’ve stolen more than a few ideas from him.  If you haven’t read his stuff before, I recommend trolling through his archives or check out his fiction at The Doomsday Device.   I’m hoping all my threats of visiting nuclear armageddon on New Zealand wasn’t the cause of his hasty withdrawal from the internet…

In unrelated news, I expect blogging to be light for about a week.  Not to worry, dear readers, just a couple days of tight schedules followed by a bit of time at my mountain redoubt where I’ll recharge the old batteries and hopefully come back with new tales to tell.  I might be posting or I might not, it all depends.  Stay loose…stay flexible.

EnglishRussia has some really cool pictures of what they describe as an underground river (isn’t that a sewer?).  Thank goodness we haven’t invented smell-o-vision yet.  I defy you to look and these and try to convince me that there are no such thing as mole-men.

Just in case you want more evidence of the scope of the impact humans can have upon the Earth.  The Swedish city of Kiruna has been a mining town for over a century.  They’ve pulled so much ore out of the ground that the bedrock is cracking and becoming unstable. From the municipality website:

It comes as no surprise that the mining activity affects the ground. The residential area called Ön (The island), close to the mine, was already phased out during 1960- 1970´s and is now a part of the fenced-in industrial estate. Part of the lake Luossajärvi has been drained and the road to the LKAB industrial estate has been relocated due to deformations in the ground.

It is estimated that around 10 % of the population in Kiruna C (pop. 18 000) will be directly affected in a 30-year period because they must leave their homes. But within the deformation zone we also find a lot of important public functions.

So, the Swedes are going to move the city a few miles away.  (h/t to my mom for pointing this out in a recent National Geographic)

And speaking of how doing stuff deep under the surface of the earth can affect us topside, I simply don’t get the continued ‘Drill, baby, drill’ attitude about deep sea drilling in the Gulf.  So the judge who overturned the moritorium on drilling said:

“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?” he asked. “Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.”

To which I answer, ‘Yes, it is rational to say that.  Particularly if the inspectors of said planes, tankers, trains, etc. were too busy snorting coke off the bellies of industry personnel to notice that their contingency plans for spills in the Gulf talked about walruses.’ If a plane crashes, it’s not uncommon to ground the fleet until we figure out what the problem is and fix it.  You’ll forgive me if assurances from the oil drilling companies that they’ve done a thorough internal investigation and come up with a perfect rating don’t impress me.

And what’s with the bullshit about jobs?  Haven’t oil companies been blowing everyone out of the water (uh..probably a poor turn of phrase.  eds.) with record profits over the past several years?  Are we really to believe that those companies couldn’t scrape a bit of cash together to tide over oil workers for a few months until we either can be more confident about the safety of these operations or decide their simply too risky with our current technology?