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Sunday, May 22, 2005

WHICH IS WORSE?

Shit-sucking commie fucktard nanny-state moonbat sleazewad Democrats
--or--
Bible-thumping flat-Earther creationist douchebag censorship-mongering ignoramous Republicans?

Somtimes I wish there really were a Hell just so politicians could burn in it. Fuck them all. And I mean that sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

BLURBS FOR BOOKS YOU DON'T WANT TO READ

Fantasy:
"Just like The Lord of the Rings, only written by a 36-year-old who lives in his mother's basement"

SF:
"Combines the dynamic characters and dialog of David Weber with John Ringo's scintillating mastery of English prose craftsmanship"


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Thursday, January 20, 2005

WHOOPDY-FARPIN'-DOO

Jerry "kiss-my-butt-I've-got-5-PhDs-and-a Computer" Pournelle has announced the release of his and Larry "I Write Like a Brain-Damage Case" Niven's new opus, Burning Tower. Here's what Jackass has to say about it:

"BURNING TOWER is a romance. My wife likes it. It's also heroic fantasy, but the kind we write with rivets and nuts and bolts. And it's a whacking good story if I do say so myself.

You can read BURNING TOWER without having read THE BURNING CITY, but you'll like both. We now end this commercial and take you back to the regularly scheduled Chaos Manor chaos."

"Whacking good story", if Burning City is any guide, means 800 pages of detailed, day-by-day description of the protagonist's life, starting at the blastula stage, and unfolded with eye-glazing, stultifying, mind-numbing exposition. With some sort of plot about a burning city pasted on, somewhere in the verbiage.

Back in their prime, SF authors could turn out a whacking good story that moved right along, and resolved itself in ca. 150 pages. I assume they were constrained by the economics of publishing at the time, with an initial serialization in Galaxy or Analog followed by a slightly expanded version in paperback. It didn't pay very well, and SF was a publishing ghetto. Yet authors such as Heinlein, Anderson, Laumer, Dickson and many others were able to produce entertaining, stimulating and important work. Something changed over the last 25 years. Now, authors are free to take up as many pages as they wish, with few constraints. And the results generally suck. What the farg does every lame piece of crap have to devote 400 + pages to the charater's entire life, from conception on? what does it add to the story? And whatever happened to writing? Not that most SF was ever the home of finely honed, lapidary prose, but at least authors had some sense of grammer, dialog, plot construction, character. What passes for SF these days all too often isn't writing, it's word-processing. Leaden dialog, pointless action, retarded science and cardboard characters. I'm looking at YOU, David Weber.

Back in the good old days the bulk of SF writers could be divided into two main camps--good scientists with limited writing skills, and good writers with limited scientific skills. Either camp was able to produce some major talent.

And what do we get now? Well, in some small number of cases we get scientists who write well.
The rest of the time we get utter bilge secreted by pointless fanboy writers with no writing skills and zero scientific background.




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Sunday, August 29, 2004

THE GOLDEN AGE

I love these books. Best reading experience I've had so far this decade. I'm re-reading them right now.

But they do show some signs of being hastilly rewritten or edited.

Problem: How far away is Cygnus X1? The text sometimes gives it as 1000 lightyears, and sometimes 10,000. In at least one instance it gives both values in the same paragraph. (I looked it up in the NASA database, it's 14,000)

Much of the plot depends on travel and communication between the Silent Oecumene at Cygnus X1 and the Golden Oecumene. This works for 1000 lightyears, but runs into serious problems if it's 10,000. Orpheus invented noumenal immortality roughly 8000 years before the current era. Some of the oldest individual characters, such as Helion aren't much older than that. Phaeton is 4000 years old. (Some of the compositions may be much older, the time scale of the 4th, 5th and 6th mental structures isn't really specified. I also get the impression that the action takes place roughly 70,000 years in the future, but I've seen an interview with John C. Wright where he claims it's 500,000)

The Silent Oecumene is actually in some sort of communication with the Golden Oecumene, Phaeton set up a monitoring station to intercept any messages from it, including the final broadcast, and the Nothing at Cygnus X1 was able to respond to events at the Golden Oecumene by creating the Nothing black hole it sent to disrupt Phaeton's project. This works if the distance is 1000 lightyears, a delay of 1000 years in a 4000 life is equivalent to a few decades out of a 70 year span - long but feasible. It doesn't work if it's 10,000. Any signals travelling between oecumenes will take longer than the 7th mental structure, noumenal immortality and almost all individuals have been sround.

What works for me is the assume that it all takes place in an alternative universe where Cygnus X1 is 1000 lightyears away. !0000 is a misprint.

Another point; It's clearly stated that the Nothing active in the Golden Oecumene is the simplest, stupidist possible version. Otherwise the original Nothing would have seen it as competition, and destroyed it. But it took the entire Trascendence, the combined mental abilties of every sophotech, composition and individual in the Golden Oecumene to defeat it. The Golden Oecumene is going to be in one hell of a fight when they meet the Silent Oecumene directly.




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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bad Writing

Trying to find something worth reading I realized that science fiction and fantasy have degenerated into a vast wasteland of subliterate bilge. Every other book seems to be something along the lines of
"Book Four of the Chronicles of the Droningonandon Saga Trilogy" or some such unreadable bilge.

Who reads this crap? Who writes it?

Mystery writing isn't any better. Every book is part of some series with a cutesy title such as
"The F is for Frday Evening the Rabbi's Cat Had a Ham and Cheese Sandwich Murders".

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Panhandling

Go read Lileks for today. I'll wait.
Bleat 26-JUL-04
I've spent a lot of time in the Netherlands, both for fun and work. One point about Amsterdam, (along With the obvious ones) is that it's full of panhandlers. Amazing quantities of them, of all types. Some parts of the city you can't walk down the street without being importuned multiple times. And they come in all varieties, from cute little eastern European girls down on their luck, to locals, to hopeless drug addicts, to various thugs, goons and losers. And, of course, the universal language of panhandling is English. (The strategy I've developed over the years for discouraging parasites seeking a handout is to give them a blank look and say "no hablo Ingles". The fact that I have a flat, obvious east coast accent makes it even more annoying because they know I speak English just from the sound. Also, being rather far towards the right side of the bigness and meaness end of the distribution curve helps in this regard)

A number of years ago, on my first trip to Amsterdam, I wasn't yet in tune with the panhandling zeitgeist, and was more open to a good pitch. I was approched by a weedy looking, twitchy, agitated guy with scabs on his face. In a lower-class London accent
he told me his sorry tale. He was a ship fitter by trade. He's been attacked by football hooligans who threw his tools into a canal and stolen his ID. They put cigarettes out on his face and beat him up. No one would help him. He was trapped, and couldn't get back to England. And so on. I thought he was full of shit, but he did have those scabs on his face. I gave him a few guilders mostly because it was a good act.

About a year later I was back in Amsterdam. I was approached again by the same guy. Same story. Different scabs. I stopped him in mid-tale and, putting a hand to my forhead, and in a dreamy voice said "don't tell me more, I'm a psychic, I can tell what you want. I see water. Tools, A football. You're a shipfitter. You were attacked. Yes, they stole your ID, didn't they?".

"How'ed you know that?"

"I told you, I'm a psychic"

"No, really"

"You told me the same story last year"

"But I've never been here before"

"Yeah, sure"

And while I'm on the subject -

Worst. Street musician. Ever.

A couple of guys on a corner in Amsterdam. Unkempt, filthy drug addict types. One had a junk guitar with 5 strings, completelely out of tune. Looked like he found it in a garbage can. He was spastically strumming the open strings with his fingers. Just about the most unmusical thing I've ever heard. The other guy was begging. For money. For the music.

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Embarrassing Revelation

I like American cheese.

Not only that, after years of wandering in the wilderness of grey poupon and other designer goo, I've decided I prefer regular old French's yellow. It's nice and tangy, and it comes in a squeeze bottle. What else could one desire?


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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pants, The Movie

I once had to make a service call on a piece of equipment at NSA headquarters.

The actual apparatus was used for testing semiconductors, nothing secret about it, all the semiconductor manufacturers used the exact same model.

I had to bring proof of citizenship and ID to the gate, and an inventory of everything in my service kit. I was accompanied at all times throughout the building. I was searched on leaving.

(Which led to a problem - my inventory sheet listed a floppy with a software update, but the goofballs back at the plant had forgotten to pack it. I spent a very uncomfortable several minute explaining to an armed guard why I didn't have something I was supposed to have with me. Just to leave.)

And Sandy "Pants Load" Berger gets to waltz out of a secure facility with top secret documents stuffed into his crotch. I don't get it. Why wasn't he under constant survailance?




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More Pants

Note to Sandy Berger:

I can see why a man in your position might want to err...
enhance his appearance. But wadded up top secret documents are just tacky.

Hint. Try a cucumber. Wrapped in aluminum foil.


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Pantload Update

We're making way too much out of this.

I store things in my pants all the time.

Right now I've got a kielbasa, two oranges.
And Hillary Duff.


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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Jacopsens

Just a thought, to play Devil's advocate for a second;

A group of musicians acting strangely on a plane, had something hidden in a McDonald's bag, were up to something in the bathroom.

Knowing musicians, it might well have been a bottle of Jack's that was hidden, and the nefarious conspiracy was one to get looped absent the ministrations of in-flight drink service.


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Neil Armstrong

How different would the history of space exploration be if Armstrong's first comment after stepping onto the lunar surface had been more along the lines of

"YEEHAHH!!! I'M ON THE FUCKIN' MOON, DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"?


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National Security?

It's in my pants.

I want my Sandy Burger fried extra crispy, y'all.

Watch out for the "innadvertantly" defense, as in
"yes your honor, I innadvertantly hunted down the man who was banging my wife innadvertantly like a dog and innadvertantly shot him 15 times at close range".


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Monday, July 19, 2004

Heretical Thoughts (No. 2 in a series)

What's so great about Miles Davis?

This thug's tuneless noodling has obsessed jazzophiles for far too long.

Davis wasn't a bad sideman in the 50's. But when he began fronting his own groups he really lost it. Davis superglued a mute into his horn sometime around 1959 and spent the rest of his career emitting an relentless cacaphony of weedy, wheezy, strangled blats, burps and squeaks. Seriously, raise your hand if you've ever listened to Bitches Brew more than once. Four sides of repetitive, boring pretentious musical masturbation and not one memorable cut. And, speaking as a bass player, I hold Davis personally responsible for popularizing ostinado bass lines. We spent decades raising the bass to be a full member of the orchestra, playing strong, sinuous, striking bass lines. Now all we get to do is play the same 5 notes over and over while the wankers^H^H^H^H trumpet players have all the fun.

What's the point of cool jazz, anyway? It's boring and repetitive. All Blues is all blah.
It's one step removed from elevator music.

And another thing.

Worst. Intonation. Ever.

Davis couldn't hit a pitch if Roger Clemens lobbed it over the plate underhand.

Freddie Hubbard has a wonderful sense of pitch. Dizzy Gillespie does amazing things with bends and microtones. Davis just plain can't play in tune.


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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Heretical Thoughts (No. 1 in a series)

What's so good about Glenn Gould?

I just tried listening to his version of the Goldberg Variations, which only confirms my earlier opinion from his English Suite.

He chews over every note like a piece of overcooked liver. Tasteless, lifeless, slow and torturous playing. Anal retentive, dragging, constipated and painful. As dead as a human MIDI file.

And it's not like he was the first to play Bach on a piano. A lot of people have played Bach on the piano. Bach played Bach on the piano. Listen to Edwin Fischer for an example of a lush, emotive, romantic and moving interpretation of the material. Gould just sounds like a robot. A boring robot. I don't get it.

Seriously, somebody email me if they have an explanation.



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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Clinton: Iraq Needs Stable Government

Yahoo News

He went on to announce that water is wet and the sky is blue. Developing.
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Saturday, May 29, 2004

If Not A Daisy Cutter

Napalm, a quad-mount cal 50, willie pete, a tactical nuke, anything. The injustice of the homeless crisis is demanding our compassion.


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The Cohen Nebula

Doesn't look like it, though...
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Friday, May 28, 2004

Help The Homeless

Our Glorious leader, Ron Sims, has magnanimously and graciously ordained a homeless tent city in the leafy shire of Bothell Wa.

I, a hopeless bleeding-heart soft touch and dedicated advocate of those poor victims of capitalist oppression have a humble suggestion to ease their pain and suffering.

Really,is just one daisy cutter too much to ask?

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Note To Andrew Sullivan

If you're going to support a tax on gas I'm going to support a tax on Astroglide.

The reasoning to support either is equally specious.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Bonzo Goes Bye-Bye

From Yahoo News:

Leakey: World's Great Apes Running Out of Time
(Reuters) - Mankind's closest animal relatives the Great Apes are facing extinction and need urgent action to ensure their survival, Kenyan environmentalist Richard Leakey said Wednesday. "We are looking at a number of species that are certainly our closest relatives and are deeply threatened," he told reporters. "Crisis is an appropriate word."


link

So what? Apes are a bunch of evolutionary losers. Compared to 6 billion humans there are maybe a few hundred thousand gorillas and chimps and about 10,000 bonobos. Which is fargin' chump change in the Darwinian sweepstakes. Apes are a bunch of useless banana munchers, so why should I care? Mommy Nature wipes out species by the wholesale boatload. I don't see anyone leaking tears over pliohippus.

Right about now all you nature types are probably whining about how valuable and important apes are.
Well, first off, how valuable and important are species that can't compete? Nature routinely eliminates the losers. If we are to elevate nature to a primary moral principal, then our only ethical position is to stand back and applaud as Magillah and friends bite the dust. Otherwise we'd be interfering with nature, which is a double plus no-no by envirowhacko standards.

Secondly, have any of ya'll nature boys ever been up close and personal with an ape? Apes are smelly, stupid, violent, disgusting animals. I say Good riddance. Would you want one to marry your sister?

If you want to claim that all animals are valuable a priori I have to ask; all animals? Will you give your all to save the anopheles mosquito? The tsetse fly? The ebola virus? How about those cute, cuddly tape worms?
Obviously you're making a value judgement about which animals take precedence. And face it, apes suck.

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Cinco De Mayo My Ass

I'll start celebrating Cinco de Mayo when the Mexicans start celebrating the Fourth of July.

What're we supposed to celebrating, anyway? The Mayo clinic?
Mayonaise? Why the farg should I give a sweet rip?

'Sides which, Corona is fargin' peepeee.

Stuff a lime in a fargin' Miller if you want to taste lime in lousy beer, ya yuppie dickwads.




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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Dude, Where's My Distribution?


If there's a Hell, here's hoping Ted Rall spends eternity having to breath Michael Moore's farts.link
(via Drudge)
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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Link Me

Come on, you know you want to.

Let's get that Blog Ecosystem rating up.


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Standing Head Department

"Arabs Outraged"

Are they ever anything but?

Outrage seems to be their standard response to any and all situations.

let's try a few other possibilities on for size:

"Arabs Slightly Miffed"

"Arabs Annoyed"

"Arabs Displeased, But Reconciled To The Situation"

"Arabs Reasonably Happy With Events"

Doesn't work, does it?

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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Micah Wright Is A Lying Liar Who Tells Lies

The excrement has hit the turbine. Read this over at Ace Of Spades, or see elsewhere:

http://ace-o-spades.blogspot.com/2004_04_25_ace-o-spades_archive.html#108345137211262645

The stinking pusball never saw combat, and lied about everything egregiously, while making a name for himself as an anti-war protester.

Meanwhile, John "Winter Soldier" Kerry is looking for a running mate.

Another stinking pusball leftist loon liar who made his career telling porkies about atrocities.

A match made in Heaven - or somewhere.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Big Kitty Cats

Found this advice over at Kim du Toit's place:

The general advice to avoid being eaten by a mountain lion is to travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with your children, stop, make yourself look as big as possible, and pick up small children and put them on your shoulders to make you appear even larger. Aggressively defend your position. The idea is to deter their attack by making them think that it isn't going to be easy for them. Pick up a branch or a rock to help fight them if needed. They are just big kitty-cats, so you don't want to appear as smaller prey to them. In particular, running away makes them think you are prey, and will encourage an attack. Yell for help by screaming "cougar!" or something similarly specific rather than just help!.

link

Well now, I think hitting a poor widdle putty tat with a stick or a rock is just too cruel. And shouting will just hurt their little pointy ears.

Kitty cats are playful little fur balls, and can't resist an opportunity to chase a toy or cavort with their friends.

The best way to protect yourself from a cougar attack is to pack your pockets with catnip and always keep a small length of string with you. When you see a cougar say "here kitty kitty kitty" and dangle the string enticingly. Soon your new furry pal will be purring and rubbing against your legs, the big softy.

Note: some people have reccomended rubbing tuna into your hair as a further gesture of friendship.
This is a terrible idea. Cougars are natural environmentalists, and will refuse to eat tuna because the fishing industry kills so many dolphins.


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Monday, April 26, 2004

The Real Kerry Scandal


All the commotion, waffling and spinning about Kerry's medals is obscuring a much more serious scandal.
(What was it he did again? Did he throw his medals over a fence, somebody else's medals, his ribbons? He threw up his ribbons? Whatever.)

In May 1970 John Shitstain Kerry flew to Paris and met secretly with the North Vietnamese.
link
It's hard to imagine how that couldn't be construed as treason.

Throwing his (or someone's) medals is a disgraceful, repulsive, dishonorable act. But it doesn't begin to match the treasonous, disloyal, illegal and unconstitutional meeting with Amerca's enemies in time of war.

It's one thing to have been anti war, another thing entirely to actively collude with the enemy. Kerry doesn't belong anywhere near the Whitehouse. He shouldn't even be allowed into the country. Send him back to France.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Blog Treatment Evolves To Crunchy Crustacean!

All the way to 7232 in the Blogosphere ecosystem.
In yer face Rajesh Prabhu!

And a big ass thanks to all my faithful readers, all 17 of you.

(so how come the text control buttons don't show up in Konqueror?)
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

It's Official

John Kerry's shit does not stink.

Not only that, it comes pre-wrapped
and portion controlled for your dining convenience.


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I Really Hate Hippies

I always thought Easy Rider had a happy ending.

I just wanted to be clear about that...
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Kim Gets One Wrong

Kim du Toit had this to say about authoritarian governments:

What I can say, with absolute certainty, is that authoritarian government may be benign at first, but inevitably leads to oppression, war and conquest / occupation, circumstances not beneficial for the fostering of culture (or of civilization, come to think of it).

This is clearly true for leftist authoritarianism; it's been a disater wherever it's been imposed, and very difficult to get rid of, and almost impossible to remove without major political upheavals and violence. However, there are a good many counter examples of right-wing authoritarian governments giving way peacefully to a more democratic system - Chile, Spain (democratic at the moment, but sadly voting themselves into dhimmitude, the schmucks) Taiwan, South Korea.

If we examine the countries of the world with democratic systems we can divide them into three main groups: (note: for simplicity of expression "democracy" is here taken to include repubican systems of government with a large democratic element along with purer democracies)

1) Indigenously evolved over long periods of time amoung Anglo Saxon/Germanic/Nordic peoples
(U.S., England, Switzerland, Iceland)

2) Imposed by (or inspired by) Anglo Saxon, etc.
(Japan, Germany, India, Israel, most of Europe)

3) Successor to a right-wing dictatorship
(see above, Chile, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan)
(And before y'all leftists start whining about how awful Pinochet was, I want to be clear about this:
I think killing mass quanities of commie scumbags is a Good Idea. I LIKE death squads)

It seems there is a qualitative difference between left and right authritarianism that leads to formation of democratic institutions from the latter, but not the former.

The historical example of right wing dictatorships show some broad similarities: The leaders in question may have been corrupt and thuggish, but they also had at least a rudimentary patriotism and love for their country. They were, conciously or not, aware of the limitations of human endeavor. They were not trying to reformulate society into a utopian vision of human perfection. Mostly they just wanted to impose order and stability, and maybe make a few dollars on the side.

Absent an indigenous predisposition for self-government, a necessary precondition for a democracy is stability and the rule of law. The right-wing dictatorships have a record of brutal but effective imposition of order.

This doesn't bode well for Iraq. Somebody is going to have to pound civilization, rule of law and civil order into their heads good and hard before any stable democracy can take root. Trying to have a democratic election in Iraq prior to a long period of imposed order would most likely yield rule by a mullah-du-jour, followed by a three part civil war between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, followed by chaos. I doubt we have either the will or the resources to install an imperial viceroy in Iraq. What will have to happen is a takeover by a sane, rational, and pro-western dictatator.


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Saturday, April 17, 2004

This One's Been Making the Rounds:

1) Grab the nearest book
2) Open the book to page 23.
3) Find the fifth sentence.
4) Post the text of the sentence.

OK

"This matter is considered in greater detail in chapter 6."

Not exactly thrilling.

Try another, my copy of De Re Metallica is right next to the first choice.

"Certainly, if mining is a shameful and discreditable employment for a gentleman because slaves once worked mines, then agriculture also will bnot be a very creditable employemnt because slaves once cultivated the fields, and even today do so amounf the Turks; nor will architecture be considered honest, because some slaves have been found skilful in that profession; nor medicine, because not a few doctors have been slaves,nor will any other worthy craft, because men captured by force of arms have practised it."

Kewl
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Sunday, April 11, 2004

Pope Calls For Peace in Easter Message

Like this is news. When has the Pope ever called for anything else?

"Pope calls for beer, pizza and pocket-size elephant in Easter message"
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Solve Fermat's Last Theorem

Or at least get the Subservient Chocken to do it.
(hmmm, not sure if his result meets rigorous standards for proof)

Subservient chicken
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Sunday, March 28, 2004

What is it With Women and paying For Stuff?

This happens all the time - woman in front of me on line at supermarket asks if they take a credit card. Spends 20 minutes digging around in purse to find card.
Takes another ten minutes to swipe the damn thing. Takes at least 15 minutes to remember how to sign name. Takes even longer if process requires advanced mathematical operation such as entering pin number. WTF???
Just how goddam complicated is it to take out a friggin card, swipe it and sign the the friggin receipt?
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Note to Outback Steakhouse

Projectile vomiting sucks.
Explosive diarrhea sucks.
Both at the same time really really really suck.
Last time I eat there, mate.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Imported Matzo

I'm enjoying some imported Iraeli matzos. Something about a matzo made with real arab baby blood instead of the pale, tasteless substitute used in American made matzo gives it an extra zing and zest.
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The Fun Never Stops

I found this Clinton quote over at Tim Blair's place:

"There were a very large number of women and children in that compound and it's almost like he was daring me to kill them," Clinton said. "I felt it would hurt America's interests if we killed a lot of Afghani women and children and didn't even get him." [emphasis added]

link

Too bad he didn't express the same level of sympathy and compassion for the women and children at Waco.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Much Vaunted Arab Street
Now coated with a thin wheelchair-and-terrorist
puree.

Hoping the IDF serves up an Arafat Burger real soon now.

Picture of the human shitsmear here
link
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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Europe vs America

It all comes down to bathroom fixtures.

In America you get two taps, or maybe one joystick trype control. Turn one, you get copious amounts of hat water. Turn the other, you get a raging torrent of cold water. And you can adjust the flow to anything in between.

In Europe, your tap is a masterpiece of intricate industrial design, styling and taste. The designer probably won a Nobel prize. The plumber needed a Ph.D just to install it. Your choice of water is a sickly trickle of ice cold, and a vague, uncertain dribble of luke warm.
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Friday, March 19, 2004

Nuking Gregory Cochran

Gregory Cochran had this to say on Jerry Pournelle's blog recently:
[snip]
Well, I have some trouble with this, because _I_ certainly knew that there was no threat. I knew for sure that they had no nuclear program, when 'nuclear program' is defined as actually _doing_ anything - breeding plutonium, separating isotopes, or building the required facilities.
[snip]
I knew that Iraq had been stony broke for years, had a total governmental budget of maybe one billion, largely stolen from the oil-for-food program, which barely sufficed to pay for a ragged-ass conventional army and secret police - certainly not a Los Alamos or Livermore. I knew that Iraq was small, dirt poor, 60% illiterate - it was _not_ Nazi Germany, it was _not_ crammed with high-quality inventors and scientists and tool-and-die makers. It was and is an incompetent country, full of incompetent people. They are ragheads: let me say this again - RAGHEADS. The idea that Iraq had a burgeoning weapons development program (all totally invisible, of course, done by ragheads paid with sand) ) could only be held by someone who really believed that there are no differences between peoples, and that money does not matter. And who was generally an ignoramus.

[snip]

(See the whole thing here:)

link
Well, this exercise in prescience should not pass unnoticed. If only Bush, Cheney, Blair, Powell, Wolfewitz, Rice and dozens of others had heard the Delphic clarity of the esteemed Mr. Cochran's Tiresian call, rather than the Cassandran obscurity to which he has so shamefully been relegated. Or something...

OK, sarcasm off

Cochran has been pounding on this hobby horse for months. He hasn't presented anything like credible evidence or a compelling argument that Saddam didn't have WMDs, just asserting his opinion.

Claiming that the Iraqis are ragheads, I repeat RAGHEADS, doesn't count for jack squat. Firstly, the Pakistanis are RAGHEADS, and they successfully developed a bomb. Is there some reason to suspect that Pakis are less ragheady than Iraqis? I don't think so. GDP per capita, which might do as a stand in for ragheadedness, is $2,000 for Pakistan and $2,400 for Iraq. This is pre-war data. In other words, with sanctions in place, under one of the world's worst dictatorships the Iraqis manged to make more money than the Paks. So, raghead Pakis can and did develop a nuke. So far, no good reason the think the Iraqis couldn't.

Next point: Nuclear bombs are 1940's technology. I mean we're talking vacuum tubes, AM radio and B&W television here. The actual technology to produce a Uranium bomb is pretty simple, 85 kg of 90% enriched U235 and some sort of cannon type device to assemble the critical mass. It's so simple and predictable that the Los Alamos group didn't have to explode a prototype, they just built it and dropped it on Hiroshima. A Plutonium bomb is a bit more difficult, but still, it's not all that difficult. It's been done by the US, the English, the French, the Russians, the Pakistanis, the Indians, the Israelis, and possible by a few others. (for more detail see The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes)

What presents ome difficulty is not the actual technology of the bomb, but aquiring the fissionables to make one. Uranium enrichment or plutonium breeding requires a very large faciity. This is not an easy thing to hide, but it has been done. See North Korea for one example, and the Israeli program for another.
There is no good reason to think that Saddam couln't have hidden his program as well.

Another problem, or at least, a problem faced by civilized nations is manufacturing a bomb without killing the personel doing the grunt work of bomb assembly. And in this case, a ruthless dictator such as Sadam would be able to use slave labor and bury the results. Freeman Dyson made this point in a speech I saw back around 1981.

So, nukes aren't very difficult technology, ragheads can make them, and disguising a nuclear weapons program can be done. And Cochran is a jerk.


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