Good Music Friday

Just this post today, on account of the holiday.
Wife is out of town with relatives, so I’ve got all of the palatial Casa de Huckleberry to myself for a few days.
I’ll probably spend most of it sleeping, a little of it watching football, and a little griping about the dismal state of a tattered world.
Scratch that last one.
I’m going to try to get some writing done for once, I have the beer and spirits necessary, just need the time and fortitude.
This story is worthy of note:

Muslims flee Northern Ireland to escape anti-Islam violence. Some Muslims in Northern Ireland have announced plans to leave the country to avoid anti-Islamic violence. The announcement comes after an attack on a Muslim family in the city of Belfast, when crazed rioters broke into their home and assaulted them.

It takes blithering ignorance, considerable obstinace, or a belief in the magic powers of Political Correctness bordering on the pathological to think that moving muslims en masse to an area known almost exclusively for Christian-on-Christian civil war* was a good idea.
Anyway, have a great “last weekend of Summer” and get ‘em in.

* And those only break out to relieve the monotony of Anglo-on-Anglo civil war that is practically a regional pastime.

Come Out Ye Black And Tans
We Are The Irish Descendants
The Irish Descendants
Kells Music | 2004

Crackin’ Corn With Jimmy, And Other Pastimes

Don't insult the horses, champ.

Don’t insult the horses, champ.

Let’s just take a quick spin around the State of the World at the moment, perform a quick audit of the findings, and see if we can divine the difference between a hawk and a handsaw:

    1) Economics – We’re broke. Much of the world is shades of broke-to-more-broke than us. The few places that aren’t as broke are at least flirting with destitution in predictable ways. In sum, more dollars growing more worthless by the day are chasing commodities that are growing more scarce by the minute, and everyone sitting around the Monopoly Table of Global Economics is waiting for the banker to go bust.
    VERDICT: FAIL
    2) Health – We’re getting sick, and not just from ebola. A Gambler’s Dozen of old school diseases is making its way back onto the front pages, long after “First World” citizens have passed the threshold from developed immunity to highly susceptible. All of the Classics from the days when doo-wop, cars dipped in chrome and Cold War antics were a thing are back, including polio, rickets, pox both small and chicken, mumps, measles and 39 different varieties of influenza. AND if we manage to put all of that back into a box in the basement, the hyper-sanitization craze of the past couple of decades combined with the over-prescription of anti-biotics for issues that barely require them is giving rise to the threat of multiple pandemics that can’t be treated. Combine all of that with a healthcare system already choking on rising costs, dwindling talent and resources, and an overbearing bureaucracy that will soon be more interested in having you die than live, well, it should be a dabba-doo time.
    VERDICT: FAIL
    3) Governance – I could drone on for 1,000 words about the petty, overbearing incompetence of the current mélange of governments, but I’ll let this say everything there is to say:

    News accounts from England reveal that over 1,400 children in the borough of Rotherham were systematically brutalized over the past decade. The authors of this damning report indicate that the actual number is likely much higher. The report also details gang rapes of 11 year-olds. Children doused in gasoline and threatened with matches. A “grooming” process that entails addicting children to drugs. Children murdered, others missing. Local police have known about this for over ten years. So have all manner of child welfare authorities and local government officials. They convened conferences to discuss it. They combatted it with guidelines and policies. They bravely met for many hours, and boldly authored internal memos. … Rotherham police came upon children being sexually exploited—in some cases, in the very instance of being raped—and arrested no one. The perpetrators are Pakistani; they might call us racists. The children seemed to consent. These gangs are violent.

    VERDICT: FAIL
    4) Prevailing Mood – Few feel safe even in their own hometowns. Just about every facet of quotidian life seems little more than four-grit sandpaper grinding down our existence into a fine powder. National borders are an abstraction. The people that have spent their entire lives insisting that violence never solves anything continually capitulate to primal violence at every opportunity. If you have even a token, nominal interest in the perseverance of the quaint ideas fostered by Western civilization, there is not one single structure of power or influence on the face of the Earth that wants anything more from you than to go away and never come back.
    VERDICT: FAIL

I can’t speak for y’all, but I for one would love my times to be a little less interesting.
We were promised that history had ended.
I want my money back.

A Government So Small, It Could Fit On A Deuce-And-A-Half

Un-American? No, not I.

Un-American? No, not I.

Or to be more pithy, let’s call it the Toby Keith Doctrine.
I’ve mentioned it in passing numerous times, but with this IS/IL/ISIS/ISIL bru-ha-ha getting the “we’ve never seen anything this formidable” treatment from the types of people that are always trying to warn us into military action — WMDs in Iraq, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, a power-hungry Saddam who couldn’t be stopped, a power-hungry Noriega who couldn’t be stopped, and on and on and on all the way to the Barbary pirates and Jefferson’s gunboats.
Your boot-stompin’, ass-kickin’ super-military is simply not compatible with the “keep your hands of my Medicare” small government that the Tea Partiers keep flapping their bags about. Not only can’t these things live together in civic harmony, they are mutually exclusive.
That super-military leads to an insufferably large government every single time without question.
Every time you say you wish the NSA wasn’t spying on you, or that the IRS wasn’t suppressing your political activity, or that the police would just cool it with the APCs rolling down Main Street, but that you’re totally cool with having a million-man standing army supported by a massive network to direct intelligence, counter-intelligence and clandestine operations around the world, well, I hope you enjoy being perpetually mystified by the ever-expanding Leviathan.
But why is this so?
It’s a reason so simple, I feel dumber for even having to articulate it, but the times being what they are, I suppose there’s little choice in the matter.
In any theater of war, there are multiple fronts, even if there’s only Hot Action on one at any given time.
And there is always the Homefront, as inseparable from the heart of the matter as deli cold cuts were from Mama Cass’ esophageal passage. In fact, in just about any war, the Homefront is where a great deal of the action takes place.
The Homefront must be defended, it must be patrolled and cleared of seditious actors, of foreign agents of espionage, subterfuge and sabotage, of domestic dissenters opposed to the ruling party, and the Homefront must be carefully managed so that material and personnel beneficial to the effort is fostered, while the opposite is suppressed.
And while the old adage that a military is always ready to fight the last war rings true, it misses one important caveat. Add up all of the common denominators in all of a society’s wars and military actions, and the one that appears every damn time is the Homefront, a battlespace planned for and managed in both times of war and peace.

Huckleberry 1, The Supersymmetric Model 0

Spiked.

Spiked.

I laughed and pointed and bathed in the warm glow of the staggering possibility that, while I may not be “correct” about a lot of things, I’m probably more right about this than the current leading lights in the field:

The concept seems far-fetched, but it is garnering interest at a time of widespread soul-searching in the field. When the Large Hadron Collider at CERN Laboratory in Geneva closed down for upgrades in early 2013, its collisions had failed to yield any of dozens of particles that many theorists had included in their equations for more than 30 years. The grand flop suggests that researchers may have taken a wrong turn decades ago in their understanding of how to calculate the masses of particles.

Just maybe.

As the logical conclusion of prevailing assumptions, the multiverse hypothesis has surged in begrudging popularity in recent years. But the argument feels like a cop-out to many, or at least a huge letdown. A universe shaped by chance cancellations eludes understanding, and the existence of unreachable, alien universes may be impossible to prove. “And it’s pretty unsatisfactory to use the multiverse hypothesis to explain only things we don’t understand,” said Graham Ross, an emeritus professor of theoretical physics at the University of Oxford.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

How To Spend A Sunday Morning

In a brief 24 hours, multiple earthquakes of sizable force rattled and rolled all up and down the Pacific coast of the Americas, from Valparaiso and Lima to San Francisco and Eureka, and then this also freakishly happened:

So I took the morning to go through all the provisions, both regular and emergency, went out and picked up a couple of extra pallets of water, checked that my plethora of hand-crank radios were right where each needed to be.
It’s all probably nothing, but “wasting” a Sunday morning by taking stock, refreshing my memory on what all was prepped, and topping off the till is worth way more in simple peace-of-mind then the loss of a couple of hours I would have spent doing something else stupid.
The ground beneath your feet is only as solid as it wants to be.
Good luck.

Good Music Friday

Onward, then, to the weekend.
Posting should pick up a bit here next week, as two of the VP Alum fantasy football leagues draft tomorrow morning. Those are always a good time, shootin’ the shit with some of the old-time Ilk.
Hm, what else?
I get to rebuild the lawn mower engine because I think a ring popped. Should be an easy fix, but it still takes time to break the thing down, and its supposed to be blisteringly hot.
So there’s that.
In other news of note, it bears pointing out that the war drums currently pounding against this ISIS cohort is exactly the reason why I distrust “conservatives” on the whole small government thing.
Don’t kid yourselves.
You want the exact same big government that the liberals do, except you want them blowing shit up Over There instead of taxing you into oblivion.
The problem that the liberals or the conservatives never seem to grasp with their preferred side of the coin is that there is no way to separate it from the flip-side.
You get both or you get neither.
No point in trying to call it in the air.
Anyway.
Get ‘em in and have a bitchin’ weekend, friends.

She Turned into La Llorona
Mijo Goes To Jr. College
Manic Hispanic
For The Records | 2003

The Brightest Bulbs Dim The Fastest

Not every sausage is the quickest.

Not every sausage is the quickest.


An interesting piece helps reinforce that which is readily observable to any who wish to see the truth of the matter:

The most pessimistic explanation as to why humans seem to be becoming less intelligent is that we have effectively reached our intellectual peak. Between the 1930s and 1980s, the average IQ score in the US rose by three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores also increased significantly – a trend known as the ‘Flynn effect’

So, in the 50 years spanning the nuclear and space ages, IQs went up. The so-called Flynn Effect posits the most retarded reasoning available to account for the rise:

This increase in intelligence was due to improved nutrition and living conditions – as well as better education – says James Flynn of the University of Otago, after whom the effect is named

What?
The entire breadth and depth of the decline that these statistics reveal occurred in a time and place where material comfort was at its zenith – living conditions across Europe have been a far sight better from 1980 to the present then they were from 1930 to 1980, to say nothing of access to cheap, nutritional food for even the poorest of the poor.
Or did WWII – and the necessary couple of decades of rebuilding in the aftermath – not happen?

Now some experts believe we are starting to see the end of the Flynn effect in developed countries – and that IQ scores are not just levelling out, but declining. Scientists including Dr Flynn think better education can reverse the trend and point out the perceived decline could just be a blip.

Oh, sure, “education” ought to help innate intelligence, right?

However, other scientists are not so optimistic.

Fuck.

Some believe the Flynn effect has masked a decline in the genetic basis for intelligence, so that while more people have been reaching their full potential, that potential itself has been declining. It has previously been claimed that quick-witted people have fast reactions and Dr Woodley’s study showed people’s reaction times have slowed over the century – the equivalent to one IQ point per decade.

How bad is it?

Jan te Nijenhuis, a psychology professor at the University of Amsterdam, says Westerners have lost an average of 14 IQ points since the Victoria Era … Dr Woodley and others think humans will gradually become less and less intelligent.

Nutrition and living conditions, my ass.
But don’t fret.

Dr Flynn says if the decline in IQ scores is the end of the Flynn effect, scores should stabilise. He thinks that even if humans do become more stupid, better healthcare and technology will mean that all people will have fewer children and the ‘problem’ will regulate itself.

I think our Dr. Flynn is a bit beyond his depth.
Look, IQ is one of those metrics best considered in the statistical aggregate, rather than on an individual basis. And I say this as someone who’s spectacularly lackluster IQ might surprise you, but the metric is best suited for tracking trends over time, just as this study has done.
And the results don’t portend much in the way of anything good.