Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Saturday, 2017.12.16
In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is
room for nothing.

		Antonio Porchia, Voces

2006.07.29

Definition Of Moral Equivalence

If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.

Thank you Ann.

If we are in a country (including our own) fighting for the Freedoms of Speech and Liberty, we are aggressors, invaders and imperialist pigs. If they are fighting from the cover of a baby’s crib and flying jet aircraft into buildings, they are freedom fighters.

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2006.07.30

Case in point (HT: Instapundit):

THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon’s battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.

Where’s the outrage over the fact Hezbollah is setting up anti-aircraft guns in grandma’s flowerbeds?

2006.08.01

The Weaponization of Children – Gerard Van der Leun (HT: Michelle Malkin)

2006.07.27

The Last Words Of Kevin Cosgrove

Stunning.

Kevin Cosgrove

I have watched this and will watch it again – every time I show it to someone else. Then I will list for them all the points of Shar’ia law they are in violation of just by standing there and being who they are. The best they can hope for is the life of a dhimmi. At the hands of rabid fanatics, it is more likely the consequence of their transgressions will put them in that building with Kevin Cosgrove.

We know Kevin Cosgrove’s last words. What will yours be?

For a fascinating “What If”, read SF writer Dan Simmons’ April 2006 Message.

More comments here.

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2006.07.27

Case in point:

On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka.

Her death sentence was imposed for “crimes against chastity”.

The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old.

But she was not married – and she was just 16.

A fine example of the “pure values” President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad seeks to slather world-wide. Under Shar’ia law sex outside marriage is a capital crime, just as serious an offence as murder and drug smuggling. Care to venture a guess how many Americans have a noose with their name on it?

2006.07.28

Another thread regarding Atefah Sahaaleh can be found over on Tim Blair’s site.

2006.08.13

An hour long video of Atefah Sahaaleh’s story can be found here. Seventh century thinking caught on video. Who says we cannot go back in time?

2006.09.11

Added picture of Kevin Cosgrove and his children.

Everyone Has A Story…

…if you are patient and let it emerge. Sometimes you do have to sleuth it out, chase it down or darn near drag it out of people with them kicking and screaming. Follow along and I’ll show you what I mean. Before reading any further, watch this video, making note of your reactions to the two players involved: The Bus Uncle.

Were you angry at the Bus Uncle? Sympathetic toward him or the young man? How would your have reacted to the Bus Uncle? What would you have done if you were the young man? And what if you were one of the spectators, perhaps even the person who caught this on video?

Well, there is more to the story of the Bus Uncle. Click here and get yourself some learnin’.

Now that you know a bit more about the cast of characters, how has your response changed to the event depicted in the video?

I’ve nudged people, just as the young man in the video, prompting them to speak lower while on their cell phone. But at 6’5″, 230 lbs and all the confidence of an Aikido black belt behind my nudge and polite request, the risk of anyone bus uncling me is no doubt quite low. In other words, the threshold for provoking a negative reaction against me is rather high. For the young man in the video, that threshold was no doubt much lower. If anyone ever were to cross my threshold, I would have responded in a manner similar to the young man – its that Aikido stuff again – assume a defensive posture and make efforts to deescalate the situation. Only if physically attacked would I have responded aggressively, decisively, and only with enough force as was necessary to stop the attack.

So my response would have mirrored that of the young man’s, although undoubtedly with a different strategy and set of motivations in play. What the heck, we’re all on this train for the duration of the trip and as long as the Bus Uncle isn’t hurting anyone, including himself, its all a bit of goofy entertainment. I’m cool with that.

About half way into watching the Bus Uncle video, I remembered a story, probably because it took place on a train as well, told by Terry Dobson which I read many years ago and hadn’t thought of for about as long. Terry was an Aikido student in Tokyo when a drunk laborer stumbled onto a train he was riding.

He was a big man, a drunk and exceedingly dirty Japanese laborer. His clothes were stiff with dried vomit, his hair matted and crusted with filth. His eyes were a bloodshot, neon red, and his face was apoplectic with hatred and rage. Screaming unintelligibly, he swung at the first person he saw – a woman holding a baby.

From there, things got worse. A young, healthy, sober and highly trained Aikido student, this was just the sort of situation Terry was hoping for to test his skills. As the two squared off for battle, they were interrupted at the last second by a small, elderly man immaculately dressed in a kimono and hakama. “What you been drinkin’?”, asked the old man and from there he proceeded to deftly diffuse the conflict. Eventually, the old man made reference to the laborer’s “wonderful wife.”

“No,” replied the laborer, shaking his head sadly. “I don’t got no wife.” He hung his head, and swaying silently with the motion of the train. And then, with surprising gentleness, the big man began to sob. “I don’t got no wife,” he moaned rhythmically, “I don’t got no home, I don’t got no clothes, I don’t got no tools, I don’t got no money, and now I don’t got no place to sleep. I’m so ashamed of myself.”

Terry’s response was profound:

And all of a sudden I felt ashamed. I felt more dirty in my clean clothes and my make-this-world-safe-for-democracy righteousness than that laborer would ever be.

I saw that what I had been prepared to accomplish with bone and muscle had been accomplished with a simile and a few kind words. I recognized that I had seen Aikido used in action, and that the essence of it was reconciliation, as the Founder had said. I felt dumb and brutal and gross. I knew I would have to practice with an entirely different spirit.

As with Terry Dobson’s story, the Bus Uncle is a good lesson in the importance of context when you seek to understand a situation. It is critical if you wish to find a solution to a problem. The bigger the problem, the more important it is to understand the problem context. If you are trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood, just the facts will suit you fine. If you are being physically attacked or otherwise in imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, you have all the context you need to make any life saving decisions. If, however, you are trying to do something like build peace in the Middle East, you’ll need the context if you want to avoid building a house of cards.

The problem content, contrary to what most people generally think, is not the only important element or even the most important element. You could be seeking a solution to a life threatening illness, a relationship issue, problems at work, international conflict, or an angry commuter on a train. Content can be important, but its rarely the only important thing. Approaches to problem solving, based on technologies like neuro-linguistic programing, where content is intentionally removed from the process offer excellent illustrations to just how much easier a solution can be found when the distractions of content are removed.

Fixating on content can leave one in a panic or paralyzed from acting. If the issue is health, for example, you want to make sure the medications involved are not in conflict with each other. That sort of content is important, even critical. The potential for things to go awry increases when content is given the priority to the exclusion of all else, especially the context. That can lead to the common result where the solution becomes part of the problem.

Another excellent video that deals with context: Koyaanisqatsi – At the beginning of the movie, you do not know what you are seeing. Gradually, the viewer is given a little more information, a little more context. It is only when you have enough context that you understand what you are watching. How soon the viewer is able to understand what they are looking at is dependent on their personal experience and knowledge of the subject and ability to extrapolate what they see and match it to what they know. This is a theme throughout the movie as the viewer is challenged to consider the bigger picture.

You know nothing, if you do not know the context.

2006.07.25

RFID In Medicine

This is a good idea and an excellent use of technology:

Technology that helps airlines keep track of baggage and sounds an alarm when a shoplifter tries to leave the store may be able to stop surgeons from losing a sponge inside a patient, a study said on Monday.

Doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine who tested sponges embedded with radio frequency identification tags said the system accurately alerted surgeons when they deliberately left a sponge inside a temporarily closed surgical site and waved a detector wand over it.

And they could go further. Its been widely reported that close to 100,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors. And its been suggested this number is too low. I believe there are many ways computer technology can be leveraged to make the practice of medicine much safer. Mind you, not as a replacement to current practices, but as an enhancement.

I had voiced a related suggestion more than a year ago whereby medication containers (bubble packages, bottles, syringes, etc.) would contain a RFID coded with the drug and dose. The patient’s chart and wrist band would contain data about what they are allergic to, which medications had been prescribed and the dose prescribed. Coordinated with a central knowledge base about all known drug interactions an additional level of checking (assuming the medical staff continues to check medications as is done today) can be done by computers to ensure the patient is getting what was prescribed, the dose and interval is correct and contraindications/side effects are taken into account.

A thread on the use of RFID for surgical sponges can be found at Schneier on Security.

2006.07.24

Heil Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…

Yet another reason to be suspicious of cats: Kitlers. There’s lots of them and they have fans! Even so, its been 14 years since we had to put our kitty, Jerome, down and I still miss that purr.

2006.07.21

Operation Mag-Neato Update

Coolness.

   
 

Doc Lee Letter

Are you doing your part?

2006.07.18

Anyone For A Piece Of Pie? Everyone?

La Shawn Barber, saying what we’re thinking

Blacks already receive reparations with every lowered standard, every welfare check, every skin color-entitlement government contract, every race-based program subsidized by taxpayers, and every politically correct doctrine that seeks to suppress honest discussions on race and encourage others to apply different standards to black Americans in just about every area of American life.

If only reparations would stop the complaints, excuse-making, pandering, envy, and hostility! I would be the loudest proponent, donating my share to the poorest of the poor, shouting from the rooftop, “Thank God for this cash, for now my people are free, satiated by the ultimate government check!” (Emphasis added)

Articulate perfection.

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2006.07.19

Cobb has a perspective on how things could be. Writing on African American achievements, he observes:

I percieve a kind of checkboxification going on and a reflexive statement about ‘race relations’ etc. Everybody plays this game. My token is more representative than your token. But I don’t think it is fair to the achiever, the achievement or to the audiences.

And concludes…

So here’s to hope that African American acheivement remains apolitical.

I’ve witnessed remarkable achievements done by many people out of necessity or for the simple thrill of it. I’ve then watched as some of those people and their achievements were snatched by less ambitious folk along the sidelines and spirited away to serve some political agenda as an “aggrieved out-group” icon. I echo Cobb’s hope and look for the day when personal achievements are regarded, pure and simple, as human, unencumbered by qualifiers or tokenization, and therefore available to any of us with the desire and will to succeed. That is a day I would dearly love to see.

2006.07.14

Everything I Needed To Know About World Peace I Learned From A Vegetable

No one is safe in this war of information. No one is immune from the Fanatical Eye. Even those professing the faith are subject to slavery and death. And if you are not a Believer, then you must die. What’s the answer? A vegetable seller in Mumbai (HT: Tim Blair) has it. Speaking on the incredible resilience displayed by Indians (fortunately a still common human characteristic all over the globe) after the horrific bomb blasts in Mumbai several days ago:

“We keep priding ourselves on how we bounce back after these blasts and Mumbai’s ‘spirit’, but haven’t we got it wrong?” asked Anshuman Datta, a vegetable seller. “Shouldn’t we be priding ourselves on our ability to hit back at those responsible?”

There it is. Hitting back at those responsible.

It isn’t hitting back at terrorists or Jews or politicians or soldiers or stock traders or corporate executives or parents or bloggers or main stream media or peace activists or police or or or or… Its hitting back at those responsible – pure, simple, clean. Put the effort there. Strip that effort of all political agendas and self serving interests (failure in this makes the solution part of the problem.) If there are no meaningful consequences to such abhorrent behavior, there will only ever be increasing levels of abhorrent behavior.

Clarifying for the barbarian pea brain that such behavior will result in great ouchiness has a effort for success curve commensurate with the duration with which barbaric behavior has been tolerated. Viewing the egregious lack of accountability among our leaders – left and right, public and private – and the self serving interests (not to any “cause” but to the individual’s need for…whatever) pressed by many “activists”, I have to say I’m not encouraged. We have prepared the soil over the past 50 years with the fertilizer of political correctness and saturated the earth with obscene levels or tolerance. We are sowing ugly and tenacious weeds indeed.

2006.07.08

Life on Fellini Street

Odd week, this. More so than most. Turning 45 without the one I had hoped to grow old with probably set the tone and the rest just flowed from there.

We’ve had a solid week of rain here in the land of perpetual drought. I had planned to replace one of the sprinkler zones during the holiday but that just turned into a muddy mess.

The person responsible for keeping me employed declared I was introverted. The surreal song-and-dance that followed as he strained to make this sound like an asset and a compliment is just too…beige…to describe.

Thursday I came home to discover someone had seen fit to walk up onto my porch and steal the 6 or so small American flags I had stuck into a flower pot. I found one in the street out in front of the house and retrieved it. This one will be hung on the inside of my glass door next to the Urban Scare Crow. I decided this act had some intent behind it which I didn’t like. Was it a political act? Was someone casing the house? Was it a solicitor miffed at the Urban Scare Crow? Is this making me needlessly paranoid (as opposed to necessarily paranoid, I suppose)? I filed a police report for the theft in case I need to establish a pattern or if others in the neighborhood had their flags stolen.

Minutes after the all-business police officer left along with his rather cute ride-along, Bethany I think her name was, all bloody hell broke lose. Six or seven police cars converged on the house two doors down along with an ambulance. The street was blocked and crime scene tape went up. The couple in the house had been in the midst of one of their numerous arguments and the dude went into his backyard and shot himself dead. We know this because the coroner showed up, too. As this was playing out, I looked to the neighbor directly behind me who is busily mowing his lawn. A little leaguer could have thrown a stone from where the lawn mowing neighbor was and hit the dead neighbor. Smelly gasoline powered machine being pushed across a lawn. Dead guy on a lawn. Only one conclusion can be made from this at the end of a week like this: Lawns are bad things. But of course, I already knew this.

I fully expect Rod Serling to ring my door selling cookies, magazines and V8 engine blocks. If he does, would you like me to put in an order for you?


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