Thursday, September 17, 2015

It's official

I've ceased to be a lazy bum who didn't shave and now officially have a beard. This morning was the first time I actually did a bit of grooming to manage it. 

Right now my family's split between new house in North Charleston, SC and old house in Munster, IN and all the anti-beard members of the family are in new house while I work on getting the old house in shape to sell. I've got a hard date of mid November to get this done and move but hope to be out of the midwest sometime in October. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Military Corruption

Strategy Page has an important article on a form of military corruption that is growing in the US. Unfortunately, some people don't seem to intuitively get how the phenomenon of micromanagement on the field of battle is corrupt and the article doesn't lay out its "j'accuse" thesis clearly enough to make it clear to all. Senior military officials and politicians are offloading their career risk of something bad happening in the field by stretching out the OODA loop of combat troops. This increases the chance that people die and a given combat mission fails. Protecting the career of a president or a flag rank officer with the blood of some private out in the field is corrupt, offensively so. Even if nobody dies and the cost is merely extending a firefight by half an hour, that is half an hour extra that the team is playing the PTSD game of russian roulette. There is no cost free way to micromanage. There are just ways to do it that are visibly cost free for the people in DC.

Here's the comment I put at the article:

We know that delays getting wounded to medical care increase deaths beyond what is unavoidable. The "golden hour" is something that has been identified as a metric that is important and that's right and proper. But micromanagement kills too and that appears not to be as universally recognized with no metrics to track it and blame to apportion when it happens. It is stretching out the combatants OODA loop which increases the chance we lose or at least take greater casualties than otherwise necessary. 
We need to measure the phenomenon and attach consequences to the abuse. The computing power needed to do this is available. When command knows that there is a timer going on every time they stick their nose in and that their names will attach to casualties caused by their intervention, the problem of micromanagement will shrink because we will have a feedback loop to punish those who engage in inappropriate intervention. 
The fact that we have not embedded this feedback loop and are increasing the risk enlisted and junior officers take unnecessarily is a corrupt offloading of risk from seniors who are engaging in career protection to juniors who bleed for it.

HT: Instapundit

Monday, January 19, 2015

Restoring the Caliphate is an imperial project

Words have meaning. It seems perfectly obvious to me that the Caliph leads the Caliphate and that the caliphate is the multi-national collection of islamic states. In general terms, the Caliph is an emperor, which makes restoring the caliphate an imperial project, and radical islam, which wants to restore the caliphate, an imperialist venture.

Then the world turns upside down.

The putatively anti-imperialist forces in the west on the left tend to be the softest when it comes to radical islam. Bill Maher has made left wing softness on radical islam a major theme of his career. But even Maher doesn't look at radical islam in terms of empire. For him, his opposition is part and parcel of his deep commitment to atheism. To him radical Islam is just religion on steroids.

Finding anti-imperial critiques of radical islam arising from the left is tough going. This provides an opportunity to call out the left and for a new left to arise that is authentically anti-imperialist no matter where imperialism arises.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Linus promotes competence, attacked for it by Social Justice Warriors

 This is in response to a Q&A session in New Zealand where Linus made it very clear that competence and good code are most important for him and everything else is just an also ran when it comes to the Linux kernel. For him, diversity didn't rate at all. In the inevitable partial walkbalk followup, Linus tosses more salt in SJW wounds by raising the importance of diversity along other poles. The importance of genital equipment to programming continues to elude him.

At least @shanley gets one thing right. When you're launching an attack on the Internet, attack someone bigger and more important than you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An Idiot's Guide to Distinguishing the Baga attack from the Paris attack

It seems someone needs to write this because some writers have exposed themselves as idiots who can't tell the difference between the attacks in Baga and Paris without making ugly racist accusations

1. Paris is a world capital in a country that generally believed itself not at war on its own territory. Combat breaking out in such a capital is big news. When capitals fall, regimes fall. Baga is a remote border town that is not even the capital of its local state. It has come under attack within the past two years and it's likely to happen again during the next two years as things go. 

2. Boko Haram is a significant military force that at least sort of fits within the standard framework of how people go to war in the modern age. The irregulars attacking in Paris are an example of a systemic threat to the Westphalian system that has undergirded how nations interact with each other since the peace of Westphalia in 1648. If Westphalia goes, a lot of things change. If Boko Haram takes even a province or two, nothing systemic changes. 

3. Nigeria's rulers have decided that it is in their interest to minimize the tragedy of Baga. France's rulers have decided that it is in their interests to play up the tragedy of Paris. The rest of the world's leadership rightfully take cues from the leader of the country in which the attack has taken place. 

4. There is a political affinity between France's governing party (socialist) and the marxists that put out Charlie Hebdo. There is a political rivalry between the muslim north (where Baga is) and the christian south (where the current government is drawn from). This naturally leads to different treatment. While it's unfortunate, race has nothing to do with it in either case. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Is it just me or are people looking to expand the time spent on preparing for life while shrinking the time spent actually living life productively? Instead of proposing free community college, turning the secondary education system into grades K-14, wouldn't it make more sense to work to stuff more learning into the present time available?

The problem with my proposal is that we'd have to pay attention, seriously ask what is school for, and take action to fix what ails the education/employment system. There are entrenched interests standing in the way of that conversation and the likelihood of success is low. So why not just whistle past the graveyard as another year is lost by kids being taught inefficiently and ineffectively?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Islamic radicals, with their usual style, have asked the world to repeat Everybody Draw Mohammad Day. As before this has caught me by surprise so I will simply repeat my earlier entry.

Is it draw Mo day already?

Here's something from the Mohammed Image Archive, a reproduction of Islamic art. 

Ok, I'm ready for my fatwa now.

This sort of image of Mohammed, illustrated by muslims, is just as blasphemous to the iconoclastic primitives who just murdered a dozen french satirists in Paris as any of the other cartoons and drawings floating around. I picked it because we should not forget that these barbarians want to murder Islam's past as much as our present.


Free association

This is going to be an occasional series of notes to help me fix half formed thoughts, and nail down concepts that sound pretty good inside my head.

The inaugural one is this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State
What are the necessary and proper 10th amendment rights retained by the people that are implied by this clause of the 2nd amendment? 

The anti-gunners never ask this question and I've never seen the pro-gun side ask this either. Is there any literature on this subject? 

Monday, January 5, 2015

How parts of the US manifest getting poorer

My local municipality monthly newsletter came in the mail over the weekend along with the local utility bill. News You Can Use put out a new snow policy and it's a statement admitting growing financial problems (at least between the lines).

Mains and secondaries will only be salted at intersections, railroad tracks, school zones, curves, bridges and around hospitals. Once the snow event has stopped, we will salt the mains and the secondaries all the way through and then we will move into the residentials. We will only salt residentials at stop signs once the snow event has stopped. We will no longer salt mid-block of the residentials
It's in little statements of service cutbacks and quietly deferred maintenance that between the lines often announce financial decay in the US. During the recent fiscal crisis, miles and miles of asphalted road were converted back to gravel. The trend is getting push back but even oil booming Texas tried it out in 2013 on two roads before public anger made them permanently shelve the idea a year later. The Texas case might be a matter of a fiscally responsible state running into the high depletion nature of shale oil wells but that circumstance seems to be an outlier.

So keep an eye out for those little announcements. Lowered salt usage on icy streets, asphalt going back to gravel, changes like these that can be pushed through relatively quietly are going to be more frequent signs than big changes like government pension cuts and municipal bankruptcy.

SpaceX making history this week?

In 2014, I thought I was in luck. We were going to Disney World and SpaceX was going going to run its first attempt at launching a rocket with landing gear. I was going to see history being made. Except I didn't in the end. A range safety failure closed down Cape Canaveral to launches for a few weeks and the historic launch was postponed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Tuesday's historic launch will fly without a hitch. This time, they're trying to actually land a 1st stage Falcon 9 component. It's landing site is going to be on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic ocean for now but the ultimate aim is to have return flights go directly back to a maintenance facility where the stages can get refurbished and reused.

If a full Falcon 9 can get reused even once, it will chop off 40% or better of the cost to launch as the $54 million construction cost can be amortized over two launches. If the components can be reused more than once, the savings get even more spectacular.

These are heady days for spaceflight, even if Tuesday's launch develops a glitch. I'm very confident that they'll get it done relatively quickly.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Chasing your tail, California Style

Instapundit today offers up a Police Chief magazine article talking about increasing revenue streams to fund policing in California. There is exactly zero attention paid to increasing economic activity. Of the twenty item list for revenue enhancers, the vast majority have a side effect of shrinking the local economy. The three exceptions are selling ride alongs, selling ad space on the police website, and allowing advertising and branding using the police department's name.

Socializing economic activity or launching government economic activity in competition with private firms occupies 7 of the 20 slots. The rest is mostly raising taxes and fees of various types.

Reducing nuisance laws in order to make economic activity cheaper (increasing ordinary tax revenue) is just nowhere in sight.

It really is just sad.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day

New Year's day is a time for reflection, a time for new beginnings. In my case it is a time to return seriously to blogging.