Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Monday, 2018.10.22
Sometimes insistence on 100 percent security actually impairs our security,
while the bold decision -- though at the time it seems to involve some risk --
will give us more security in the long run.

		Hans Albrecht Bethe


War and Pieces

The hoopla from the war hawks and peace doves over the past eighteen months on up to the present has left me largely unimpressed. The hawks pressed their war based, in part, on claims of “weapons of mass distruction”. The revelation of which had all the drama of Geraldo Reveria cracking Al Capones’ tomb. The doves, humorously, are shocked and angry that the US government could have got it wrong.

Not content to accept the government may simply be blithering idiots on a mission, the doves have assigned evil intent and malicious design to the intelligence “failures” and are set on marking the “evil doers”. All this while turning away from the stench of fact wafting from the graves of mass decompsition in the deserts of Iraq – the graves of thousands of Iraqi citizens – men, women and children – killed by agents for Saddam Hussain.

For all the claims of impending piles of corpes if war in Iraq were to happen1, the reality is the “civilized” nations were too late to prevent the massive loss of life. It appears Saddam Hussain has been quite efficient at providing the hidious body counts.

For those seeking a little perspective, an article by Brian Hayes in the January-Feburary, 2002 edition of American Scientist titled “Statistics of Deadly Quarrels”2 may be of interest.
1In a letter widely distributed on the internet and attributed to Dr. Helen Caldicott (I have been unable to confirm the source), it was implied that the impending war would result in “slaughtering up to 500,000 innocents in Iraq”, and in this group, “tens of thousands of children”. Interestingly, this same letter avocates using other people (in this case, Pope John Paul II) as human shields. No word whether the author of this letter was willing to be a human shield.

2Statistics of Deadly Quarrels, Brian Hayes, American Scientist, January-Feburary, 2002, vol. 90, num. 1, pp. 10-15 / Online reference:;_s?&print=yes


Venté No-Whip

It started immediately. From almost my very first visit to Starbucks. “I’d like a venté no-whip mocha, please.”

Better than 80% of the time, what would show up is venté mocha all right, but with a blast of foul tasting whip cream floating on the top. Some shops would make good and mix a new mocha as requested. Others would extend the effort with a coupon for a free drink. Still others fell below the service quality mark by simply scraping off the sludge and re-capping the drink. Hoooooonk. Wrong answer. Thanks for playing.

With “solution” on my mind, I tried making my request in several ways. “I’d like a venté [long pause] NO WHIP [long pause to let the phrase sink in] mocha.” Success improved, but failures still occurred about 30% of the time. “I’d like a venté mocha, and could you please leave the whip cream off of that?” “Huh?” came the reply if I was lucky. Failures occurred about 60% of the time. Apparently, this one violates the 7+- 2 rule1. Too many words and the “barista” looses the information on the front of the sentence.

There is some kind of business theorem buried in this experience. The “No Whip Maxim for Customer Service”. I’ll have to develop this idea, write a book and hit the chat show circuit.

The patrons can be a bit numb as well. I’ve had my drink lifted by auto-piloted patrons. “Oh, that’s yours? I thought your extra large mocha looked like my puny Double Decaf Half Mashed Iced Caramel Macchiato.” Go eat a rock.

Gad, I’m starved for a decent coffee house within a reasonable drive of my house. My favorite haunt, The Market, has become too cumbersome to reach on a regular basis, what with all the T-Rex construction along I-25. Will I have to create this myself? If I must, guarantee there will be no aerosol whip cream in the place.
1The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information, George A. Miller, The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97


It’s a Beautiful Thing

It’s all in the setup. Months in the making, the Java Zen weblog is now on line. Whew. It’s time to lift the cap from a homebrew (an Imperial Stout, no less), kick back, and do a little free association. Where else is one to find enough garbage to fill this space?

Java Zen is still the place to find interesting items not suitable for blogging as well as the archives for the Friday Humor Break and Wha Zappenin’. I’ll be moving some of the older stuff from Java Zen and else where to this blog site as time allows. Sheesh. Some of us were blogging before blogging was cool.

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