Tag Archives: Kvick Tänkare

Kvick Tänkare

Who knew the Germans were still paying reparations from WWI (uh, probably the Germans.)?  Their last payment is due on the 3rd of October.

A study came out claiming that atheists and agnostics are pretty knowledgeable about religion.  More so, in fact, than all religious groups.  That kind of makes sense since agnostics/atheists need to understand a wide variety of religions before they can reject them. Winner quote about the story is from the NY Times:

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”

CNN had a short (10 question) quiz from the poll so you can check out you knowledge (for the record, I got 9 out of 10).

A while ago I wrote about a demo of an upcoming game called Hannibal.  Well, it’s out now.  I’ll be picking up a (virtual) copy soon.  It has a cool, old-school board game look to it and the demo was a lot of fun.  Check it out and crush those pesky Romans!

Last winter the Finns created a massive snow pile from plowing the streets of Helsinki.  Well, the thing has just about melted…just in time for snow to start falling again.  It was ginormous when it was created (see picture below).

‘There are opportunities…it just depends on if you can grab them.’

If you’re concerned about a growing Chinese military threat you’re wasting your time.  Rather, if you see China as a threat to American hegemony you should be looking at places like Senegal.  Al Jazeera has a special about Chinese immigration to Africa.  How many Americans (even in this time of economic hardship) are willing to pack up and move to a new economic frontier?  Meanwhile, who do you think is going to have more influence throughout the continent in the next 10 or 20 years?

Best line:  ‘Chinese people like to do things quickly and things move slower in Africa.’

One doesn’t usually hear of Chinese being the impatient ones.  After all, aren’t they still waiting to see how the French revolution worked out?

Kvick Tänkare – Military edition

I’ve never been fond of the current trend of referring to American soldiers as ‘warriors’.  The terms aren’t synonymous and each has implications about the values they hold, who they answer to and their professionalism.  Kings of War does a much better job of putting those with a warrior fetish in their place.

Cracked has a list of five international incidents (a couple of which led to armed conflict which is why it’s included here) which were started because of an animal.  My favorite was the ‘War of the Stray Dog‘ which led to a dust up between Greece and Bulgaria.

Greek soldiers were sent out to occupy the nearby town of Petrich, where they clashed with Bulgarian soldiers and left 50 men dead. All-out war seemed inevitable, until the League of Nations surprised everyone by doing their goddamn job and stopping the war.
Greece was ordered to withdraw from Bulgaria and pay a fine of 45,000 of whatever they used for dollars back then. History doesn’t record what happened to the dog, so we’re going to speculate that it traveled to the United States and somehow caused the Great Depression.

A big ‘screw you’ all around to those who refused to repeal DADT. John McCain seems intent on putting as many nails into the coffin that holds the last shred of his integrity that he can (Stay classy, John!  Why don’t you kick a dog while you’re at it!).  Ye gods, it’s 2010, the argument that gay soldiers can’t fight or will go on wild sexual binges in war zones has been irrevocably shredded and the only thing left is simply bigotry and still the damned thing can’t get killed.

We’re 9 years into our Age of War and it’s has been entirely possible for the majority of American citizens to have not seen one casualty (let alone an American casualty) during that time because of media considerations for our delicate, sensitive nature.  I think that’s ridiculous.  If you’re going to send people off to war, you owe it to them to at least be able to look at what they have to go through.  You don’t honor them or their memories by pretending it doesn’t exist and the your buddy just lost his arm accidentally.  PBS has a clip of a group of soldiers in an ambush in which a couple get wounded.  Since such footage might dampen the right’s campaign of continual war (hey, let’s pretend only bad guys get hurt!) there is, of course, outrage from that corner.  I however, think it does those soldiers a great service.  They act professionally, respond to the attack, take care of their wounded and continue with their mission.  What the hell is there to object to?

Boingboing links to a podcast about the cargo cult in Vanuatu Islands.

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.