Saturday, October 30, 2004

Amour - Landing a Billioneiress

It seems David Brooks of the New York Times has caught John Kerry in another reversal. He has been claiming the Bush outsourced the attack on Tora Bora to Afghan warlords. Yet at the time it was happening, he praised our technique as being the best way to prosecute the attack.

This guy really must have learned to French way of love (ala Pepe LePew), promised them anything but give them Arpege! No wonder Teresa wishes her first husband were still alive!

What Words Mean

The discussion of "gay marriage" is a clear example of the problems caused by an unrestrained judiciary. The term itself is an oxymoron, if you apply the standard dictionary definitions. "Gay" and "marriage" are mutually exclusive given that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
How does this affect us? We are supposed to be a nation built on respect for the rule of law. Understanding a law depends on using universally understood terms (i.e. standard definitions). People can't just make up their own personal definitions of words without creating anarchy. This was an unintentional insight given to us by Bill Clinton, "it depends on what the meaning of is is". In his case, perjury shouldn't be perjury because of his personal definition of the word is. But the courts disagreed and revoked his law license for the crime of perjury.
We don't need a constitutional amendment to define a word that already has a clear definition. If gays wish to enter into a "civil union", the legislature can consider the matter. But the judiciary undermines its own legitimacy if it changes definitions on its own and thereby creates a form of anarchy.

Explosives As WMD Components

It has been interesting to see how the technical issues of explosives have been mangled in recent days. The key point in the discussion of explosives is the speed of propagation. TNT has a speed of about 7 kilometers/sec. RDX has a speed of about 100 KM/sec. It is that higher speed which leads directly to higher blast pressures. The reason RDX is considered a component of WMD is that it can create enough pressure to implode the “pit” of a nuclear device enough to initiate a fusion reaction. Slow explosives are good for blunt tasks like earthmoving. Fast explosives are useful for cutting, as demonstrated by the explosive demolition of old buildings. You cut the steel girders in the building and let gravity do the rest.

"Ray" and Roles for Women

I saw the movie Ray yesterday. It’s a great movie! But more that that, it is a showcase for the power of the dignity of women. There are three in particular; Ray’s mother, wife and a Raelette, Margie. All exert a forceful presence. The funniest moment in the movie is when Margie lets him have it during the genesis of Hit the Road Jack.

Every child has spent years under the tutelage of a woman, his mother. Used effectively, women have great power to civilize. It’s too bad roles for grown women are so scarce. In it’s own way, this is a real indictment of the sexist gangsta lifestyle of the rapper genre. It also hints at the missing element in a sub-culture populated by so many single teenage mothers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The American Thinker

I had my second article posted on The American Thinker website, Presidential Campaigns and the Draft today. Thanks to Thomas Lifson. It’s a companion piece to my previous post What Dictatorial Conscription is Really Like

BTW, the first article is here

Atmospheric Physics Part II

One of my favorite characters was Richard Feynman. He may be familiar as the individual serving on the space shuttle Challenger investigation board who demonstrated the key flaw by squeezing an o-ring in a C-clamp and immersing them in ice water. (His minority opinion to the final report of that commission foretold the failings leading to the loss of the Columbia.) He was most remarkable for his curiosity.

In his book, What Do you Care What Other People Think? he talks about his father, the uniform salesman. He described seeing people bowing before an authority figure, such as the Pope and asking his son, “What is the difference? … The difference is the hat he’s wearing.” Often, people make a plea to the putative authority of their supporters. In just this manner, the TTAPS authors held a conference filled with notables (e.g. the uniforms). Francis Crick got his Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA, but does that qualify him to peer review atmospheric physics? So the conference became a frenzy of ever more heated speculations on how a “Nuclear Winter” could harm the environment. They did not get a peer review!

It is interesting to note that Saddam Hussein provided the real world peer review by lighting the Kuwaiti oilfields. Here the TTPAS predictions started to break down. There was no long lasting temperature inversion. While the effects were a local environmental disaster, they did not support the theory.

This issue of an inversion is another one where the ordinary citizen’s intuition might fail him. The scenario was that soot from the fires would absorb sunlight and get heated. The hot air would rise and cause an inversion that natural forces would not break. The novice might think “heat rises” and accept this idea. But does heat rise? Do you have a heated ironing board and an unheated iron so the heat rises into the fabric? Do children paint mountains with deserts on top? Or was the book called The Snows of Kilimanjaro? In the real atmosphere as heated air rises it expands and cools (adiabatic cooling). Whether it continues to rise is influenced by its humidity relative to the surrounding air. Water vapor has a high heat capacity compared to dry air. We know the soot bearing air has moisture as water and carbon dioxide are the primary products of combustion. As the air rises, the water gets closer to the condensation point and forms clouds. Condensing water in droplets changes the volume and temperature of the air. This affects the buoyancy relative to the surrounding air and creates lateral movement. You see this effect on days with high solar heating that lead to cumulus cloud formation. Careful observation will reveal that the air rises into the bottom of the clouds and descends between clouds. This is the artifact of the horizontal flow. Yet this two-dimensional flow is beyond the capability of the TTAPS one-dimensional model! And not one Nobel Prize winner objected!

60 Minutes Hits Keep Coming

During Andy Rooney's rant on Sunday's 60 Minutes, he complained about miltary aircraft stored in the desert. The pictures showed F-4 Phantoms. This aircraft first deployed in August 1962 just a few years after the Boeing 707 entered commercial service. Does Mr. Rooney still fly 707s as he types on his manual typewriter? He has become a crabbed old Luddite and should be retired. But he fits right in with the culture of the show. Never let facts interfere with you feelings! It should be increaingly obvious that the Sunday 60 Minutes is as ethically challenged as the Wednesday edition.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Politics and Atmospheric Physics

The recent approval of the Kyoto Treaty by the Russian Duma presages its eventual passage and signature by Vladimir Putin. Once Russia approves the treaty it will take effect for all signatory nations. John Kerry will be pleased with the UN effort. The only major first world economies to not sign the treaty are the United States and Australia. We can be sure the UN, Old Europe and the enviros will start wailing. So a little review of the history of the confluence of politics and atmospheric physics is in order.

The first big push was made in 1983-84 under the banner of “Nuclear Winter”. It was an adjunct to the Nuclear Freeze movement. John Kerry was lieutenant governor to its prime adherent, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. The leading public scientific face was Carl Sagan. He was one of the authors (TTAPS - Turco, Toon, Ackerman, Pollack & Sagan) of the leading study initially published in the magazine, Scientific American.
The synopsis of the theory was that a nuclear exchange targeted on cities would cause extensive fires. Soot and dust rising from them would rise into the stratosphere where it would block out the sun. This would cause global cooling and plunge the world into a period of greatly reduced temperature that would last a long time as the soot would be above the natural cleansing effect of rain in the troposphere.

No one was inclined to defend the concept of all out nuclear war, so it was hard to hear the skepticism that existed. But a cursory review of the physics would show enormous uncertainties in the theory. The average citizen would likely be sufficiently credulous to believe the scenario. If the sky was darkened, they might expect it to be cooler based on their experience with the sun hiding behind a cloud. It’s “cooler in the shade” seems to support the notion. But what about at night? Aren’t the coldest times of day just before dawn on a really clear night? Ooops! We might wish to consider diurnal variation in our theory. But TTAPS used a time averaged model that simulated a continuous twilight. And the model was a one-dimensional radiation-convection model in a three dimensional universe!

Obviously, the model was weak. One way of approaching a problem beyond your computational capabilities is to devise a simplified model. Let’s try one. Imagine an Earth sized planet surrounded by a cloud bank that reduced solar radiation at the surface to 1-2% of the average radiation seen at Earth’s equator. What would you think would happen to the surface temperature? Would it drop 25-50 degrees as predicted by TTAPS? No!. Because I’ve just described the planet Venus where surface temperatures are hot enough to melt lead. So the plausibility to the credulous public does not signify scientific truth. But the awfulness of the post-war effects of a nuclear war were enough to stampede the populations of Europe! It meshed with the Soviet disinformation campaign to prevent the installation of Pershing missiles in Europe. It was a political force, if not a scientific one. I’ll probably do more posts on the subject of “nuclear winter”, but I think you can start to see the emperor’s new clothes.

What Dictatorial Conscription is Really Like

The Democrats have tried to insinuate that President Bush will institute a draft despite all the evidence to the contrary. They also have criticized the way the war has been fought. Some of the armchair generals have suggested that we should have used elements of the Iraqi army to fight the insurgency. There are complaints that we expected to be treated as liberators and got hostility instead.

Before they get all carried it might add some perspective to recognize that the Iraqi army was built on the Soviet model. An excellent summary is Inside the Soviet Army by Viktor Suvorov. The current Russian army follows the same model. So what is the Russian army like? How does it treat its conscripts? Try reading the Human Rights Watch report on the Russian Army. See those topics: Torture, Servility, Confiscation of Salaries, Drunken Abuse, Sexual Abuse? Maybe we don’t want to work with that kind of army!

During World War II the Soviets used penal brigades. They took the great unwashed and sent them into battle with Spetznaz brigades armed with machine guns behind them. The penal brigade faced potential death going either forward or back. Their chance of living was greater going forward so the Soviets attrited the Wehrmacht with the lives of the penal brigades. A similar action was seen on the Kurdish front of the Iraq war. Iraqis who attempted to surrender were shot by their Iraqi overlords.

And as to expecting to be treated like liberators, it first requires being a liberator from a foreign enemy. American GIs were given the liberator treatment in Rome & Paris. But not in Germany itself. There we were a conqueror. We should not have expected the hero treatment. Facing a sullen populace should have been anticipated. Our native optimism got the better of us.

Googling Bull Connor

Recent charges by the Democrats about Republican voter intimidation of minorities have used the terms "fire hoses" and "dogs" to invoke memories of Bull Connor, the former police commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama. The famed racial provocateur, Jesse Jackson, used just these terms on the steps of the Cuyahoga Ohio County Courthouse steps in his bid to reverse the legal interpretations of Kenneth Blackwell, the black Republican Secretary of State. But who was Bull Connor?

A modern technique for learning about the past is to Google it. Careful choice of the search terms yields some interesting results! If you type "Bull Connor" you get about 6520 results. Change it to "Bull Connor"+Republican and it now becomes 1750 results. Make it "Bull Connor"+Democrat and you get 601 results. What party affiliation did he have? From the numbers above, you might guess Republican. Reviewing the first 10 results of the basic search does not provide a definitive answer. The word "Democrat" only appears in the title of a reference work, "Dixiecrats and Democrats". But further searches and investigation prove he was a Democrat listed under his given name, Eugene. But it is clear that the Democrats have waged an effective disinformation campaign to hide his record and paint Republicans with the taint of racism. Future posts will delve more deeply into the estrangement of blacks from their natural ally, the Republican Party. Obviously, Allan Keyes is not the answer!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Jeopardy Challenge - "I" Nations


$100 - It was created from a United Nations partition plan adopted in 1947.
$200 - It denied the Allies rights to bases for antisubmarine aircraft thereby leaving a wide gap in air coverage that was exploited by Nazi U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic.
$300 - It was the site of a 2002 multilateral military occupation not sanctioned by the United Nations.
$400 - This majority Muslim nation that controls the Sunda Strait, recently held a successful presidential election.
$500 - While under American occupation of its capital, an interim government was formed to negotiate conditions under which a future government would operate. Over the subsequent two year period, foreign military insurgents were defeated and then elections to create a new republic were held.

$100 - What is Israel?
$200 - What is Ireland?
$300 - What is the Ivory Coast?
$400 - What is Indonesia?
$500 - What was 1944-46 Italy?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Launching - October 24, 2004

Hi everyone! This is my first attempt at my own blog. You might ask about its name, MachiasPrivateer. I chose it to honor my ancestors who were involved. You can read a brief synopsis from the (presumably unbiased) British point of view There are also multiple links on this page.
Another more complete description is "Lexington of the Seas"

Col. Benjamin Foster was my fifth great uncle. My fourth great grandfather also participated and later helped capture two more British ships and went on to command a Continental Congressional privateer. So read these stories of how we came to rebell from the British. Keep in mind that this action took place before the Battle of Bunker Hill and more than a year before the Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1775. Hope you find it interesting!