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September 26, 2007

worry more -- space aliens hate our freedom

With all the time you spend worrying about things, about the rent and how to swing it, about Halo 3, about the permanence and immateriality of the human soul, etc., are you spending enough time worrying about alien invasion?  And no, I'm not talking about the dudes that prep your dinner at your favorite resto -- that goats been plenty scaped by the cryptoracists.  I mean the space aliens, with the star-cruisers and the plasma-blasters.

As detailed in this Reuters article, two gentlemen with experience in the aeronautic industries by the names of Travis Taylor and Bob Boan are worried that you are not worrying enough, and they have written a book entitled "An Introduction To Planetary Defence" to walk you through it.

Failure to prepare may mean mankind will have to dig in and fight with improvised weapons and hit-and-run tactics, much the same way Islamic extremists have battled the U.S. military in Iraq, Taylor said.

"You'd have to create an insurgency, a mujahideen-type resistance," [he] said.  "The insurgents know how to win this war against us.  It also tells us that if we were attacked by aliens, this is our best defence."

It's interesting how Taylor and Boan attack this problem by applying lessons from the headlines of today.

Even more interesting is that they haven't attacked this problem by applying lessons learned from one hundred years of speculative fiction, and all the various sci-fi offshoots in various media, like a sane person would.  The invasion scenario has been gamed out by thousands of marginalized writers, whose imaginations range from poopy to weakly God-like.  Hopefully, Taylor and Boan have better advice for us prospective invadees than "put explosive in car, detonate".

Of course, there's always a chance that they might be in line for a round of "I told you so"s, while I wait in line with the rest of the enslaved for the alien probing.

[Via Swallowing the Camel.]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:24 AM

September 25, 2007

to be fair, "kyrgyzstan" is not so easy

I offer this because the information jumped me in an alley, beat me with a tire iron and then told me that it wanted to be free.

Some pseudonymous soul out there found a .pdf of a draft of President Bush's speech to the United Nations on the UN's website.  However, it seems this might not be the draft intended for public consumption, as the it includes pronunciations for the hard words -- not exactly the aspect of the president's speechifying that you want hard evidence of.  You can open it at this link -- I annotated it for your ease of reference.

It's not all that super-scandalous, as I'm sure the practice is commonplace for those who read a lot of speeches.  But there are some pretty easy ones syllabled-out (like, say, the surname of the president of France), ones that you'd hope our president would be familiar with, so this posting is not devoid of "Preznit-he-dumm" content.

I went back and forth over whether this has any interest to the general public at all, and I've decided that, as I am not part of what they call the "MSM" but rather a jerk driving a keyboard around, I'd throw it up and let you be the judge.

So, be the judge, already.  A peek under the skirts of the corridors of power is worth thirty seconds of your life, right?

Posted by mrbrent at 12:48 PM

September 24, 2007

ahmadinejad: in iran, one can never have too many syllables

I have very little to add concerning today's visit by Iranian President/bon vivant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  I would include a link, like a good online journal would, but the news as ubiquitous today as mortgage refi ads.  If you don't see Ahmadinejad on the inside of your eyelids tonight, then you are not consuming enough media.

It is refreshing however to have a day's news cycle dominated by an irrelevancy in the form of a head of state, instead of an irrelevancy in the form of an actually irrelevant person, like a celebrity criminal, or a celebrity corpse.

Plus also I now have the spelling of "Ahmadinejad" down, and look forward to it replacing "Asta" as the most common NYTimes crossword answer.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:44 PM

barack obama is smarter than you are

TPM's Josh Marshall targets the implicit racism of the RNC as revealed by a concerted effort to deride Senator Barack Obama's intelligence:
the White House's new line is that Barack Obama may be too "intellectually lazy" to run a serious presidential campaign let alone be President of the United States.  And don't think this was a stray comment.   The RNC just shot off an email building on the slur. With the headline "Razzle Dazzle", the email continues the theme that Obama is just another black fancy-pants with a slick smile and nice turn of phrase but either without the candle-power or stick-to-it-iveness to actually get things done.

While the none-too-subtle appeal to idiot racists is galling, I find it more alarming that anyone would try to attack Sen. Obama on the issue of brains.  Couldn't there have been a less utter bullshit tack the RNC could take, like calling attention to his baggy pants, or his use of "axe" instead of "ask"?

Being a smart guy myself, I'd say that such a label on Sen. Obama is really really counter-intuitive.  I've seen your average American's share of footage of the Democratic frontrunners speaking, and if anything, Sen. Obama comes off as if he may be too smart -- speaking in complete paragraphs, struggling to distill complex and contemplative notions into TV-suitable catchphrases.  Sen. Clinton and John Edwards don't exactly come across as dummies or anything, but they are much smoother and more practiced.  Sen. Obama projects a more geniune, purely intellectual vibe, IMO.  I've employed this before, but Clinton and Edwards seem suited for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, while Obama would fit best on Dick Cavett's old show.

Also, all the nefariously coded racism in the world will not draw attention away from the intrinsic hypocrisy of an administration source calling anyone "intellectually lazy".

Posted by mrbrent at 12:18 PM