A deli worker was attacked, someone came across the counter and slashed at him with a knife. He fought back with a knife of his own, and the other guy got the worse of it. So, what happened? Did the city of New York throw the deli worker a ticker tape parade? Give him the keys to the city? A commendation for improving the streets and the gene pool? Nope:
Woopsie. A statue commemorating Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, was unveiled in Moscow this week. Looks like a good statue. At the base of the stature there’s a sculpted “exploded view” diagram of the AK-47. Well… of the German StG 44, in fact, not the AK-47. They look similar to be sure, but they are not the same. And once that mistake was discovered, they delicately chopped the diagram off with an angle grinder. The link above shows the before and after photos.
This sort of screwup is not as uncommon as you might hope. Sometime circa 1994 I attended the unveiling of a veterans memorial on (or near, I forget exactly) Rock Island Arsenal. It consisted of polished black marble slabs, one for each war on up to the Persian Gulf War. Each slab had “art” laser or chemically etched into the surface; pictures rather than actual sculpture. I had a difficult time not making a scene when I realized that the Persian Gulf War slab showed what was *supposed* to be an AH-64 Apache, but was actually an Agusta A129 Mangusta, an Italian attack helicopter that the US military most assuredly did *not* use in Iraq.
This is also not an AK-47. Or is it? Hmmm…
So where are the statues of Eugene Stoner, Edward Teller and John Moses Browning? I suggest for every statue of Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee taken down, they be replaced with prominent American weapons designers.
The donation comes with a bit of a hitch: it’s to be used to promote homeopathy.
On Monday, UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman announced that the Samuelis have donated $200 million to launch what he billed as the nation’s first universitywide enterprise to embed integrative health approaches in research, teaching and patient care.
“Integrative health approaches” in this context means “alternative medicine.” You know what we’d call “alternative medicine” if it actually worked? “Medicine.”
I suppose if it’s used to actually do good science on crap like homeopathy and reiki and psychic vampire repellent sprays, sure, fine, whatever. But I suspect that it’ll be used to ram woo into the medical industry *despite* the science.
There is a time and a place for critters. My cats, for instance: their place is “my house” and their time is “all the time, because this is their house too.” But their place is *not,* say, the grocery store or the restaurant. Nor is it appropriate for women to take their genetic mutant fishbait yapdogs into restaurants and the like simply because they want to keep them nearby.
On the other hand: service animals, generally dogs. (NOTE: *real* service dogs, trained and certified) Their place is “pretty much everywhere.” Because they not only do a job, they’ve been *trained.* Cats and dogs, as I’ve said multiple times before, are On Our Team. But service dogs are even more so… they are *professional* members of Team Humanity. They get to go wherever the person who needs them gets to go.
The proper response to a service animal is, almost always, to *ignore* it. Sure, you see a dog and your instinct is to start baby-talking like an idjit and to come over and pet it… but it’s doing a job. Leave it alone. Your petting it will not only distract it, you could well cause a system failure.
There was a time when the only service dog you were likely to see was a seeing eye dog for the blind. But now there are dogs who can detect when their human is about to have an epileptic seizure, or go into sugar shock or something like that. And there are now service dogs trained to aid people with psychological issues, anxiety and PTSD and the like. You coming over and pestering the dog will not only throw it off, you might actually set off the issue that caused the person to need the dog in the first place. I admit, a decade or two ago I thought the idea of a service dog for mental issues was nonsense, but all evidence points to them being fully functional, real and useful. A PTSD service dog is no more nonsense than PTSD is. So if someone has been properly diagnosed with PTSD and the people and organizations who regulate PTSD dogs sign off on that someone having a service dog… I got no problem with that. And neither should anyone else.
But of course, the world is full to overflowing with people who missed out on the whole “rationality” and “empathy” development programs. Take this magnificent example of NSFW insanity:
Note how the dog remains calm throughout, as does the veteran. You know who else remained calm throughout? The womans husband/boyfriend/whatever. The look on his face, though… *priceless.* Ya gotta feel for the guy. How many years of this before *he* needs a therapy dog?
Repeat after me, kids: Leave. The. Dog. Alone.
So, let’s say you’re in a restaurant and you see someone with a service dog, and it is behaving itself. And your first thought is something like “ewww, the hygiene, the hygiene,” and your impulse is to get up and complain. Well, I have a very simple test for you. Look around. Does the restaurant allow *children?* If so:
The St. Louis Public Library’s Schlafly Branch had a number of windows smashed and books tossed. Not clear how much damage was done, but intentionally damaging a library is not exactly an action that has a history of glory.
It seems that the North Korean undergroudn nuclear test site is really close to the active volcano Mount Paektu. As the article says:
“For an individual nuclear detonation to do serious damage to the volcano, previous research shows, the blast would need to be at least 100 kilotons, which the explosion earlier this month was estimated to be.”
Now, this would be dumb on a couple levels. First off, setting off one of their own volcanoes on their own turf? Dumb. But second off, the volcano is basically also on the border with China, so this *could* annoy the one nation that can actually tolerate the Kim regime.
So one might wonder if further unwise testing may cause the Chinese to finally get off their butts and do something. China could *easily* march right in and take over the joint, or at least take over the Nork nuclear sites and probably install their own puppet. On the one hand… well, good, I guess. But on the other hand, that would not free the people of North Korea, and it would move the Chinese border and military to within just a few miles of Seoul, South Korea. So the Chinese *could* use the wackiness of the nuts in North Korea to further their expansionist, imperialist aims.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Chinese are popping up the Norks and quietly aiding them in their nuclear programs *specifically* to set up a situation where they can march in and play the hero, and wind up in a strategically superior situation.
Socialism: the state controls the means of production.
Communism: the state owns everything.
Nanny/welfare state: could be free market capitalist, fascist, socialist, communist.
Venezuela has been pursuing socialism since Chavez; the state nationalized not only Venezuelan oil companies but *foreign* oil companies (and people act surprised when foreign investment dried up). The state has put price controls on things like food and toilet paper… prices *below* the cost of production (and people act surprised when people stopped making and selling those things). The state decided to create a massive welfare state to raise the standard of living of the truly, shockingly poor… by nationalizing everything, confiscating wealth and making enemies of businesspeople and people act surprised that the wealthy and skilled of the Venezuela have been leaving the country in droves).
The author makes some good points. The basic one is that we used to make memorials – statues and such – to glory, to things we were proud of, to things that uplifted us. Now we make memorials to the things that make us sad. We used to look up. Now we look down.
The World Trade Center memorial is a freakin’ hole in the ground. It is used as a place to grieve, of course, just as the Vietnam War Memorial is. But when the people who were directly affected by those events are no longer there to grieve, they won’t be places of grief anymore. They’ll simply be holes in the ground.
There is greatness in our history. There is darkness in our history. But it seems like in the last forty or fifty years we’ve stopped celebrating the greatness and have learned to wallow in the darkness.