Friday, December 30, 2011

Is that all there is?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

Evolution: way cool!

A really good scientific theory explains things it hadn’t anticipated.

The Copernican, helio-centric model was designed to fix the calendar, and provide improved predictions of observable planetary motions.

As it turns out, with a fair amount of refinement, it also explains seasons: put the earth in elliptical orbit around the sun, with axis-of-rotation at something other than 90-degree angle to plane of revolution, and, VOILA! Seasons!

Similarly, Darwin’s ‘evolution via natural selection’ also contained an implicit prediction Darwin never contemplated.

As I understand Darwin (admittedly, not all that well), his view of inheritance was via some sort of ‘mixing’ model. ... as it turns out, a ‘mixing’ model of inheritance doesn’t really work to explain evolution via natural selection.

BUT: particulate inheritance – via genes – works like a charm!... and Mendel established the fact of particulate inheritance.

A frequent criticism of ‘evolution via natural selection’ – among those who seek to discredit it – is the claim that every individual in the population has to experience the same mutation at the same time.
If even one parent produces a competitive mutation, that’s all it takes.

The casino game ‘craps’ is actually pretty fair. Once upon a time I had an assignment to compute probability of the shooter winning at craps.
I don’t recall the answer, but it’s something like 49.3% – meaning the house has a 50.7% chance of winning.

If you play long enough, you’ll lose your shirt. (This is how casinos make money: most of the games are pretty fair... but the house always has the edge: if you play long enough, you’ll lose your shirt!)

Particulate inheritance works exactly the same way. If a single individual has a mutation that grants him/her only a tiny advantage in survivability (probabilistically), eventually his/her progeny will take over the species.
This can be simulated via computer. It’s easy to demonstrate. The house always wins in the long run.

Again: Tho’ Darwin didn’t realize it, his theory contained the implied prediction that inheritance is particulate! ... a prediction that has been confirmed!

Politically incorrect

If I were the head of a Santorum or Gingrich or Paul superPAC, this is the anti-Romney ad I'd be running in the Bible Belt:
Mormons: God-fearing, church-going, family-oriented, civic-minded, hard-working, self-supporting citizens...
... BUT: members of a Satanic Sect!!!
Why the Secrecy?
Gentiles - that'd be the rest of us - are not allowed at Mormon services, and would not be invited to a Mormon wedding.
Do Mormons drink Christian blood during communion?
[... We KNOW they don't drink wine!]

Was Joseph Smith a charlatan, or just stark raving mad?
Again, Why the secrecy???
You Decide!

A dirty joke

[note: I don't know that many dirty jokes... but this is one of my favorites]:
He: Do you know the difference between a hamburger and a blowjob?

She: No.

He: Ya wanna go to lunch?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2nd draft

Ladies & gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up – yes, you there, come a little closer… don’t be afraid, come a little closer … there, that’s better: I am about to share with you the GREATEST SECRET of MODERN MEDICINE:
Royal Elixir!!!
This valuable remedy, of which I am the proprietor, is a sovereign remedy for Dyspepsia, Sick Headache, Biliousness, Liver and Kidney complaints, Rheumatism, Gout, and Impurities of the Blood.

… It is an agreeable tonic for delicate women, being delicious in taste and beneficial in results.

For children it is especially desirable owing to its pleasant taste.
Folks, just over 100 years ago, these tonics, nostrums, and elixirs were common-place. They promised to cure EVERYTHING – no matter what ails you, “Royal Elixir” will cure it – and it tastes GREAT!

There’s a name for these cure-alls: SNAKE OIL! – and the folks who peddled them were SNAKE OIL SALESMEN.

You may believe that SNAKE OIL SALESMEN are just quaint historical figures, BUT, my friends, they’re with us today, peddling their ONE magic cure for whatever ails you…

Who are these Modern Snake-Oil Salesmen?
The GOP! – and the Snake-Oil they’re peddling is
St. Reagan's Restorative
Tax Cuts – good for whatever ails you.
To be fair, sometimes these nostrums even worked!
In 1906 the Sears, Roebuck catalog advertised the White Star Secret Liquor Cure with the promise that after a few doses Daddy would stop helling around every night.
It worked! Daddy DID in fact give up drink and stayed home at night.
The White Star Secret Liquor cure was based on a powerful narcotic.
Daddy was no longer drinking: he was addicted to opium, and sleeping like a baby.
(Just for good measure, the Sears catalog also advertised the Sears Cure for the Opium and Morphine Habit!)
Since the days of Saint Reagan, the GOP’s ONLY ‘cure’ for the economy?
Hey: Mitt, Newt, Rick, Rick, Michele, … Ron? – whaddaya think?

Folks, when ONE nostrum, ONE magic remedy, ONE cure-all is all you need, all the time, no matter what ails you… well, there’s a name for it: it’s SNAKE-OIL, and the people selling it to you are SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN!

For the GOP, “Tax Cuts” are ALWAYS the answer – good economic times or bad, war or peace, jobs or no jobs. “Tax cuts” cure EVERYTHING, all the time, forever.

In 1954, under the administration of that commie-pinko-socialist and wealth-redistributing Republican Dwight Eisenhower, the top marginal tax rate was – brace yourself! - 91%. I seem to recall from history that this was a period of mushrooming economic expansion, and the rise of America as a super-power.

Yes, indeed, my friends: Tax Cuts taste GREAT!... but are they really a cure-all?… and might the ‘cure’ – like White Star’s Secret Liquor Cure - be worse than the disease?

Call out the GOP for what they are: Snake Oil Salesmen!

(Look for this on YouTube within the month!)

Just for fun

three (3) semi-related headlines:
Sadr bloc calls for early elections in Iraq
Arab observers aim to see Syria's deadliest city
Suicide bomber kills 7 outside Iraq ministry
Recall, a post hoc rationale for invading Iraq was to build a bright, shining democracy in Iraq - thereby introducing stability into the region.

WMD? - didn't quite pan out.
"Bright, shining democracy"? - didn't quite pan out.
Stability in the region? - didn't quite pan out.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away: When my statistician & USMC bud was in Iraq (VERY loyal readers may recall that he participated in 'battle for Baghdad'), I asked what he'd guess for end-game. (We corresponded as regularly as possible during this time...)
His response: "Eventually we'll leave and all hell will break loose."... this prediction made in 2003 - eight (8) years ago!

On the bright side: we're out of Iraq... finally... minimally $800 BILLION later.

The less-than-bright-side: current Administration is blamed for our FAILURE in Iraq... not W and his cabal.

... and we leave the region with, well - let's see:
Iran stronger than ever.
Syria on the brink of civil war.
Good work, W!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Iowa: pointless but valuable

"Who'll win Iowa?"
- Who cares?
The winner of the Iowa caucuses seldom goes on to be the nominee!

On the bright side: all GOP contenders are doing their level best to win Iowa by presenting themselves as the 'only true conservative'.
This behavior will provide TONS of video against whichever one eventually DOES win the nomination.
Pandering to 20% of the electorate is unlikely to win a general election!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Re-engaging.... slowly

I keep thinking I oughta send $$$ to Michele Bachmann's campaign.
She seems to be losing traction, and I'd REALLY like to see her as the GOP nominee!
[... tho' truth be told, just about ANY of the GOP slate would be just fine with me!.]

In the meantime, I've received donation form from Michelle Lujan Grisham, requesting $$$ for her run for Congressional NM1 - vacated by Heinrich in his run for U.S. Senate (Senate seat vacated by Bingaman).

... and I've been successfully putting off entreaties from Heinrich to come back to the campaign.
1 Jan is my re-commitment date... and then only if looks to be a contested primary (which to date it does not).

Very slowly I am re-engaging with politics.
(I've even started reading front page of NYT... well, not every day, but once in a while!)