“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Magnitude has nothing to do with meaning-Bobalharb

allen said...

re: light

Astronomy was one of several things that reconnected me to Judaism. Specifically, the properties of light as understood in the present and how those properties are applicable to the Jewish creation myth.

Having repeatedly exhausted myself attempting to ferret out the significance of light in other mythologies, I have concluded that none approach the simple, plain physics described in Genesis. That text speaks to what could be called a "Big Bang" of light. No anthropomorphisms, no heroes or heroines, no creatures of nature, no gods and demigods battling away, etc., just the simple statement, "Light be!" And the Universe came into being. No other mythology comes remotely close to describing Einstein's conceptions.

All said, it seems to me that the anonymous scribe laboring away on his parchment in the 12th -15th centuries B.C.E. captured the essence of the mind of our modern age, so far as light goes. It is truly a unique melding.

Wed Feb 28, 11:13:00 PM EST

bobalharb said...

Allen--In my life I have gone through three attempts at understanding the universe. All have failed.

First, the idea of the big bang--a hard idea to get ones mind around. The cosmologists used to tell us this would either end in an

1) infinite expansion, or

2) a big crunch

There are two ideas.

Now I am reading the big bang is probably right, but it is boom, then a big expansion, then a slowing, and now some of them say, it is speeding up--and with dark energy, we might be in the
big s--t--r-----e-------t----------------c-----------h.

I have come to terms with the fact I will not know in this lifetime.

I think mythology is the only human way we can even start to get a handle on things. I hope for a peaceful mythology.

Wed Feb 28, 11:47:00 PM EST

I try read every post. Some are more interesting than others. All add to what goes on here at the EB.

Gems get sprinkled amongst the chaff. That happens in human conversation. Conversations are not lectures. They ramble and drift.

Stream of consciousness. Ideas that provoke, educate, irritate and entertain.

Thanks Bob and Allen. Thank you all. -Deuce


  1. Well said, Deuce. I'll try to remember that next time I go on a sermon rant! : )

  2. ADE said, Hard to believe. We, all of whom will be replaced in 100 years, are the measure of all things.

    From the perspective of eternity, even the most momentous decisions are utterly insignificant. Galaxies collide, and compared to them mighty human deeds,
    both good and evil, seem as nothing.

    Therefore the sage does not share her griefs or exult in joy with others, like a newborn babe who has not yet
    learned to smile. This makes her an outsider, never invited to participate
    in social occasions.

    While others delight in acquiring for self, the sage renounces all that she owns. She would appear to be like an army cut off deep in enemy territory, with no visible line of support. But her supply route is the nameless way.

  3. I mut agree, with trish, we are doing many things, but being at war with Islam is not one of them.

    Religion of Peace

    Go Bandar Go!!!!

  4. The particle became the article.

    But, can a pine cone become a puppy?

  5. The question is: Is Islam at war with us?

  6. Bobalharb said I'm still trying to figure out how it is that the light that enters my eye gives me the picture of those beautiful hills across the river over there.

    "...She found it hard to censure them. The mind recoiled in the face of infinity. The Void! Alchemists of any age were like rag pickers bent over their bundles, saying: "There must be order in here somewhere. If I keep on, I'm sure to find it." And all the time, the only order was the order they themselves created..." Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

  7. No, not according to the US Government, and they get to decide.

    Not my view of how to manage the current police chase, but I'm definately in the minority.

    Depends, I suppose upon ones perspective of religion, culture and the power of individual freedoms.

    The folk in the US tend to extend our cultural mores onto other peoples, thinking that cause and effect there will mirror outcomes here, often to our disadvantage.

    It's only nasty radical individuals that are causing this current uptick in violence.
    Prince Bandar said so, Mr Bush believes.

    Mr Bush now represents the most aggressive posture within the US Government. His Standard of operation has led to four years of slow failure.
    Culminating with "Success in Basra".

  8. The Supremes Hamadan Decision and the Congress's and Executive's response to it, prove the point.

    Afghanistan, Iraq and Somolia, as well as all the other TWAT operations are distinct local conflicts, not part of a greater combined "War".

    All of the Federal Government is in accord, on that point.

  9. They've adapted to US style democracy, same as the Iraqi.

    Not all causes have the same effect, on folk from different cultures, as one would expect, or at least hoped for.

  10. LONDON (Associated Press) -- The first affordable combination anti-malarial drug tailored for children will soon be available across Africa, potentially saving millions of lives, the nonprofit organization and the pharmaceuticals giant who worked to develop it said Thursday.

    Spraying the mosquito breeding grounds with DDT would accomplish more, at much lower costs.

    Malaria could have been eradicated forty years ago, if not for peusdo enviormental science.

  11. So, where are the "We just Luv, Luv, Luv the troops" big name conservative and/or milbloggers and media commentators?

    Hospital Officials Knew of Neglect

    If John Kerry were to inadvertently pass gas at Walter Reed, Malkin, Ed, Hewitt and company would be all over the story for days. Great job watching out for the troops, guys! But then, it really never was about the troops, was it? Just politics.

    Hypocrisy is not solely the domain of Democrats.

    “According to three people who attended the gathering, Rumsfeld listened quietly. Some of the women did not know who she was. At the end of the meeting, Rumsfeld asked one of the staff members whether she thought that the soldiers her husband was meeting on his visits had been handpicked to paint a rosy picture of their time there. The answer was yes.
    When Walter Reed officials found out that Rumsfeld had visited, they told the friend who brought her -- a woman who had volunteered there many times -- that she was no longer welcome on the grounds.”

  12. So I'd like to know where, you got the notion
    said I'd like to know where, you got the notion

    to rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
    rock the boat, don't tip the boat over
    rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
    don't rock the boat-t-t-t-t

  13. DR,

    re: rock the boat

    I was thinking of the gravy train.

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

    “But there is something even worse: it is the first, last, and middle range of fools.”

  14. allen asked: is Islam at war with us?

    The fact that we are involved with an enemy who is not engaged in Clausewitzian warfare has serious repercussions on our policy. For we are fighting an enemy who has no strategic purpose in anything he does — whose actions have significance only in terms of his own fantasy ideology. It means, in a strange sense, that while we are at war with them, they are not at war with us — and, indeed, it would be an enormous improvement if they were. If they were at war with us, they would be compelled to start thinking realistically, in terms of objective factors such as overall strategic goals, war aims, and so forth. They would have to make a realistic, and not a fantasy-induced, assessment of the relative strength of us versus them. But because they are operating in terms of their fantasy ideology, such a realistic assessment is impossible for them. It matters not how much stronger or more powerful we are than they — what matters is that God will bring them victory.

    Excellent article (h/t a jacksonian) right here.

  15. I stand corrected. The “Victory Caucus” has gone after the Washington Post’s “despicable tabloid expose in the guise of journalism”. Dana Milbank does not escape the ire of the worthy governors, who write, “He is a second rate hack, personifying the worst of yellow journalism. America’s brave warriors deserve better, but we are talking about the Washington Post.”

    Support the “Victory Caucus” as it holds the line, fearlessly supporting American troops from the depredations of institutional abuse.

    Board of Governors
    Dean Barnett
    Austin Bay
    Matthew Currier Burden
    Frank Gaffney
    Hugh Hewitt
    Ed Morrissey
    "Joe Gish"


  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. The General @ Walter Reed has been relieved.

  18. Major General Weightman took the job in August 2006.

    "But according to interviews, Kiley, his successive commanders at Walter Reed and various top noncommissioned officers in charge of soldiers' lives have heard a stream of complaints about outpatient treatment over the past several years. The complaints have surfaced at town hall meetings for staff and soldiers, at commanders' "sensing sessions" in which soldiers or officers are encouraged to speak freely, and in several inspector general's reports detailing building conditions, safety issues and other matters.

    Retired Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Farmer Jr., who commanded Walter Reed for two years until last August, said that he was aware of outpatient problems and that there were "ongoing reviews and discussions" about how to fix them when he left. He said he shared many of those issues with Kiley, his immediate commander. Last summer when he turned over command to Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, Farmer said, 'there were a variety of things we identified as opportunities for continued improvement.'"
    ___Washington Post

    Has General Weightman died for the sins of the Army?

  19. VDH offers historical perspective of American conflicts, and a sensible reminder in his close. It's Not Unusual

    Irrelevant aside - that title sets off my musical memory, and thanks to YouTube, I don't just have to hum my recollection of it - Tom Jones at his best!

  20. Oh happy day!

    Lucianne has begun to weigh-in on the Walter Reed scandal:

    “Walter Reed General Loses His Command
    Too bad it took the WaPo to clean this up but so be it”

    Who knows? Given another two weeks, she may ask if the Army has crucified a scapegoat.

  21. Is that the same WaPo taken to task by the VC (Victory Caucus)?

    Is the WaPo a saint or a sinner, or simply a conduit of perceptions?

  22. Wow, thanks for the fractals sample clip. Remember when the 80's PC technology generated the critters at the speed of drying paint?

    The film's kinda pricey though. Have to wait for Walmart to put it on sale, for this Bubba to get smart.

    NOVA! That's the ticket...

  23. But there is a lot of space out there, and President Carter claims to have seen a UFO. Reagan too.;)

    The Apollo 11 astronauts did also. That was the flight that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins took to the moon and back. Armstrong became the first man to step on the surface of the moon and Aldrin became the second. The moon missions demonstrated the greatness of American culture and are our equivalent of the Pyramids or Sistine Chapel. I don't believe that anyone here on the EB would argue that the astronauts who rode the Saturn V rocket (7.6 million pounds of thrust) and flew a spacecraft to the moon and back are anything less than Great American Heros.

    There is one person however, who has hounded Buzz Aldrin through the years calling him a fake and asserting that the trip to the moon never happened. He is an obvious member of the 'Hate America First' crowd and he finally found out what happens when you push a hero just a little too far.

    Here's the UFO seen by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

    Thanks for the excuse to post the video and not be completely off topic.

  24. Proof, people.

    Bobalharb, you want aliens? Meerly ask: X files

    And sorry to tell you, Allen, Deuce’s pic at the top of the page is proof positive that varmints celebrate Christmas.

    Btw, you’re doing a real service for the services by spreading the word about spotty to inadequate medical treatment of our sick and wounded vets. Wish we could absolutely know the inside story at WR, but if the situation is even close to as reported, then firings, reorganization, increased funding and doctor inducements need to happen quick.

  25. On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced that he would commit more American forces to Iraq, particularly to Baghdad, to secure the population of the capital city. This update places the unfolding Baghdad Security Plan, Operation Enforcing the Law, in context by reviewing the military operations that U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi troops conducted in the month before it began.


    General George Casey remained in command of Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) until February 10. As the top-ranking general in Iraq,
    General Casey set the mission for
    coalition forces in Iraq in January and early February: “Since the inauguration of the Iraqi government, MNF-I forces remain in Iraq at the behest of its leaders.


    The pattern of operations in January and early February supported this mission. In early January and February, American, Coalition, and Iraqi forces throughout Iraq engaged in coordinated raids and strikes in
    order to disrupt terrorist, insurgent, and militia networks.

    Iraq Report

  26. db2m said, Wow, thanks for the fractals sample clip. Remember when the 80's PC technology generated the critters at the speed of drying paint?

    If you run Linux you can light off the xaos program and drive way into the Mandelbrot set with your mouse real time.

  27. aase's death,

    re: aliens


    Thanks for the kind words. Admittedly, I am being a royal pain in the ass, but if we can't depend on the alleged friends of the troops, best know that now.

  28. Allen,

    A quick Google or two shows a couple of uses of Fractals in warfare. The first is
    Fractal Antenna Technology

    A fractal antenna is created using fractal geometry, a self-similar
    pattern built from the repetition of a simple shape. The inherent
    qualities of fractals enable the production of high performance
    antennas that are typically 50 to 75 percent smaller than
    traditional antennas. Applications: Electronic warfare, Signal Intelligence, Tactical Communications.

    A second is the Navy's use (or research) of Fractals for Feature Detection in Aperture Radar Images. The link to this requires a login, so I don't include it.

    The only other use that I am aware of is Fractal Compression of visual images and later audio data. These are analogous to jpeg and mpeg compression. All are "lossy' compressions, meaning that you lose some of the original information during decompression.

    It appears that Fractal tactics and strategy await future development.

  29. Now dig this, Al Gore says he buys "carbon offsets" so he can have a neutral carbon "footprint" when he flies his jet to global warming conferences, BUT HE BUYS THEM FROM HIS OWN INVESTMENT FIRM

  30. The Tennessee Valley Authority's entire output of solar-generated electric power from sixteen sites is enough to power about 50 “average Tennessee Valley homes” for a year, or about 2.5 Gore mansions per year. The only problem is that Gore has three mansions.

  31. stoutfellow,

    re: fractals

    Thanks for the links and the info.

    The impact of microtech on the practical arrangement and application of fractal technology should be something to see. Of course, for illumination, I will be wholly dependent on the charity of others.

    Thanks again.

  32. stoutfellow,

    Of course, I should have written "nanotechnology". Yes, I will be at the mercy of the illuminati.