Friday, September 6, 2013

Bits and Pieces: Sept 6, 2013

Syria is still the top topic in the news, and it probably should be. My mind is already made up on what we, the US, should do as a country, but you know what? Washington still hasn't called to ask me! Remember people, we are not a democracy, but a republic - and it looks more and more like a government-controlled nation state every year.
CNN has a very good article about who the Syrian rebels are. I found it fascinating that "some" of them are al Qaeda and some are also suspected of using chemical weapons. These are poorly organized, non-interacting groups and they all have different agendas. Oh they all say they want to remove the al-Assad regime, but I guarantee every group has a different idea of what to replace the regime with.

As I told a friend the other day, my brother can beat me up, and I might fight back, but when a stranger steps in to stop the fight, we'll both turn on him. Why does the US government not see this? We are not, nor can we be, the policemen of the world. In fact, our actions to do so have made us the bully of the world.
A headline on CNN says "Obama says because of U.N. Security Council paralysis on Syria, countries should be willing to act without authorization."
Where were our good intentions when the first 100,000 people were killed in the Syrian civil war? For that matter, where were we in 1994 when Rwanda was ripped apart by the genocidal mass slaughter of the Tutsis and over half a million men, women and children were killed? The choices of the US government about when to intervene in foreign atrocities are patently political in nature and not humanitarian.

There. That rant is complete for the day, but I still await the decisions made by this administration which will affect how I am viewed by the rest of the world, a world I have only compassion and good wishes for.

I know everyone was anxiously awaiting the final installment of the Soylent saga! Lee Hutchinson posts it here, and almost makes me want to go on a Soylent diet, even though that isn't the intended purpose of this food replacement, which isn't soy (and isn't people).

This is the coolest bug I've ever seen. Possibly over ten feet long, this bobbit worm lives in the oceans. When you read how it snaps its prey in half, you'll understand the nature of its nickname.

Some Tech Stuff - Keep reading.
The iPod will probably be discontinued, which is funny since we just found one at the house and I'm thinking of charging it up and putting all my music on it. That device still rocks (pun intended).
There are good arguments for letting the iPod die a quiet death, or at least Jacqui Cheng thinks so.
There are other rumors about next Tuesday's Apple™ announcements, but I'm just willing to wait and see.

My eyesight is getting worse. I blame age, but maybe I can place some of the blame on my computer habits.

There's a new reading service called Oyster. I don't know what else to call it. For about ten bucks a month you can read all you want, or so they say. I spend more than that each month on ebooks, so it might be worth considering if I knew those same books were actually available. After all, I still download classic books from Gutenberg.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo succeeded in its second trial flight this morning. I'm sure that made Richard Branson very happy. It sort of annoys some of the guys here at Boeing - we don't usually talk much about Branson.

Elon Musk is planning to drive a Tesla across the country. Good luck to him. Charging the car might be an issue. I think the Tesla is a dream car, but I can't afford one. Neither can anyone I pal around with.

At least we're not still talking about Elon Musk's train! Now we're talking about the Japanese train that hit 310 mph last week. Bet the Tesla can't do that…

The BIG tech news this week was Samsung's watch, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. I still wear my Pebble™ and love it, but we'll see what Apple™ says next Tuesday (back to that again!).
Others are waiting to see what Apple™ intends also, but they sure like the Samsung watch.

The SolidRun company just came out with a $45 computer which is only two inches cubed in size. No kidding. I could lose that in the couch.

By now you know I love photos and thinks space is cool. So what better than a combination of the two? Historical images. Take a look.

Scientists reversed Down syndrome in mice with a single injection. Medical science rocks sometimes!

Let's do a little financial stuff and call it a day!
A few blogs ago I posted Jerry Coon's Tax Attic article explaining Obamacare in simple terms. I really liked it.
Jerry gives a few more details here. I'm glad someone could simplify it for me.

The Marketwatch web site gives you a lot of information on finances. What I recently discovered was the Retirement section, where I can play with the Retirement Planner tool and help figure out when (and if) you can retire. It's a fun tool to play with and a well-made program. I discovered an extra million dollars would help me. I'd better get to work on that…

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