Thursday, June 22, 2017

F-111 & F-35

FLG remembers years ago when he read that the F-35 was going to be a single fighter for all the services.   This shared platform would save money, they said.   Immediately, FLG thought of the F-111:

The U.S. Air Force and Navy were both seeking new aircraft when Robert McNamara was appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense in January 1961.The aircraft sought by the two armed services shared the need to carry heavy armament and fuel loads, feature high supersonic speed, twin engines and two seats, and probably use variable geometry wings. On 14 February 1961, McNamara formally directed the services to study the development of a single aircraft that would satisfy both requirements.
Long story short, it didn't work out, and the Air Force got the F-111, which never quite met the original needs, and the Navy ended up with the F-14 Tomcat of Top Gun fame.    The desire to save money by building a shared platform ended up wasting a bunch of time and money.

Getting back to the F-35, when reading about how building one aircraft for all of our services and also for allies would save money, FLG was skeptical.   But hoped it would turn out better.   At first glance, their were a lot of requirements built into the design (stealth, computer systems, etc) that seemed like it could lead to cost savings, even after tweaking for each service branch.  Turns out FLG's skepticism was valid, with a long history of cost overruns.   Though the Pentagon disagrees with that characterization.

What FLG has learned from F-35 program is that the requirements for the different services are so varied (the Navy needs to land on carriers, the Marines need to takeoff and land vertically, etc) that there isn't much cost savings to be had, and in fact trying to shoehorn them all into the same platform means the services have to accept less performance or add massively to the cost to keep their desired performance.

“Despite aspirations for a joint aircraft, the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C are essentially three distinct aircraft, with significantly different missions and capability requirements,” the Senate stated in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017.
It seems the Navy and Air Force have learned that lesson AG for the second time:

Having learned from the $300 billion-plus, tri-service Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program that one size does not always fit all, the Pentagon will likely embark on separate next-generation fighter programs for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Quote of the day

William Deresiewicz:
everyone is in favor of their own free speech (including, for instance, Vladimir Putin). The test of your commitment to free speech as a general principle is whether you are willing to tolerate the speech of others, especially those with whom you most disagree. If you are using your speech to try to silence speech, you are not in favor of free speech. You are only in favor of yourself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Leisure & Desire

Yesterday, FLG read this book review by Fr. Schall.   This passage reminded FLG of his thesis that the end goal of Marxism is Leisure, wrongly understood:

we are told that this “subjective freedom” constitutes the difference between classic/medieval and modern times. Classic/medieval freedom was based on reason, logos, not desire, on what is, not on will. Freedom is based on reason, not desire. To understand what is being said here, two more points need to be recalled. The first is that, according to Plato, desire, by itself, is unlimited. This unlimitedness is a good thing in itself for that is what desire, as such, is. The second point is that, according to Aristotle, the purpose of virtue is to rule our desires and so achieve our end, not just our desires. Desires allow no “end,” only more desires. In themselves, desires are good things but they are to be ruled by reason. The difference between modern and classic/medieval thought, then, has to do with where we locate the center of our being: in desire, which is unlimited, or in reason, which limits or rules desire because it knows the end which desires serve.

FLG probably should have more to say about this, but doesn't right now. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Quote of the day

Die, Workwear:
[G]ood tailoring is a beautiful thing, and it shouldn’t be beholden to some nut jobs. 

Recommended Reading

FLG knew he was going to like this one:
HOW FRENCH “INTELLECTUALS” RUINED THE WEST


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Quote of the day II

George Friedman:

I think we are looking at the prospect of a few weeks of quiet diplomacy and noisy public threats that will lead to war.

FLG is very concerned about this. The media is distracted with other, frankly, less important, stories. 

Quote of the day

Victor Davis Hanson:

One of the most surreal paradoxes of Washington, D.C., is the number of progressives (including the former president of the United States) who put their children in Sidwell-Friends while passionately opposing charter schools and vouchers.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Quote of the day

FLG isn't quite sure which should be the quote of the day:

  • At first I picked up a bad smell; I thought maybe the guy next to me had farted.
  • High heels and diarrhea don't mix.
  • I've seen feces in a urinal once or twice, but never in the sinks.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Plato & Club Silencio

FLG caught the Club Silencio scene from Mulholland Dr. on cable the other day.  He thought to himself, this screams Republic Book X.   Need to do a blog post.    Which is funny, because he realized that he thought the same thing almost a decade ago.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Productivity

One of the big mysteries of the information revolution is the question of productivity. We keep using all this tech that clearly lets us do more with less, but instead of galloping higher, productivity levels have stagnated. What’s going on?
It’s possible that the productivity increases are appearing as lower prices rather than as higher incomes. If the price of oil falls from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel due to increasingly cheap and efficient methods of production, then everybody in the industry is more productive in terms of barrels of oil per hour of work, but since the oil price has gone down, that productivity increase won’t be captured by statistical methods that calculate productivity in terms of money.

Friday, May 19, 2017

FLG Doesn't Get It

FLG has said it before and will say it again.   He doesn't get the appeal of Jean-Michel Basquiat.  In fact, FLG has never seen any of Basquiat's work that makes him think there was ever any talent at all beyond duping drugged up people in the art scene on the Lower East Side in the late 70s.  

$110.5 million for a painting that displays the artistic skill of a picture hanging on a refrigerator?   FLG is astounded.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Celebrity Sighting: MSP Edition

FLG is pretty sure that he saw Dean Ornish at the Minneapolis Airport on Monday.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Quote of the day

T. A. Frank:
You almost have to bow down before someone who could host Shakespeare for dinner and make the agenda wind up sounding like a brochure for the Altria Group. At least Kafka would be on hand to capture the joy of the evening.

Friday, April 7, 2017

FLG Sort of Feels Bad

When FLG heard about this a few days ago, he thought to himself, Wow, sounds pretty cool.   Too bad he's not going to be in Venice any time between now and December:
Millionaire artist Damien Hirst has come to Venice early with an exhibit staged especially for this mysterious and watery city.
NBC News was given special access to the exhibition, "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable," featuring more than 180 statutes opening Sunday. According to curators, the collection is made up of a hoard of treasures retrieved from the Apistos, an ancient ship that sunk off the coast of Africa some 2,000 years ago.
Underwater footage and photos of the retrieval operation, which Hirst claims he funded, are integral elements of the exhibition.

Then, he read this:
Ultimately, though, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable offers scale in lieu of ambition, and kitsch masquerading as high art. Perhaps, when the exhibition closes in December, Amotan’s “treasures” should be returned, discreetly, to the bottom of the sea. 

Ouch.   Nevertheless, FLG admires the sheer ambition and audacity of the exhibition.

On an art related note, FLG was walking by The Frick Collection the other day and lamented he didn't have time to stop in and see this exhibition:  Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages through Time

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wu Tang Triumph

FLG has probably mentioned this before, but Wu Tang's Triumph is probably his favorite rap song.   Inspectah Deck's opening is probably his favorite of any rap song ever.   He also really likes RZA's verse.   The word play of terminal, as in illness, with Grand Central Station is particularly clever.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Celebrity Sightings: Delayed At DCA Edition

On Wednesday, FLG was at DCA trying to fly up to New York.   It was windy as shit across the entire East Coast; so windy, in fact, they shut LGA down for a bit and then only had one runway open.  Given that flying to LGA is a pain in the ass in the best of times, things weren't going well.  Anyway...

While waiting, FLG saw Katie Couric.   Seems like she had just flown in.  She walked fast and kept her head down, clearly didn't want to be recognized, but definitely her.

Not long after, FLG saw Mark Halperin boarding a flight to JFK.   Halperin was not walking fast or keeping his head down, as only FLG and like three other people who watch Morning Joe would've known who he was.

The next day, when FLG when he got of his return flight, he saw Trent Lott and his wife.

Updating the list.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

On Andrew Jackson


Each generation gets to choose the heroes it feels comfortable with. But the case of Jackson should afford a reminder that history is complicated. America didn’t become the country it is today without significant contributions from people once deemed heroic but now thought embarrassing or worse. The problem, if it is one, is not with Jackson; the problem is with American history. That history contains chapters we aren’t proud of, and shouldn’t be.
But while it would be a mistake to celebrate those chapters, it would be a greater mistake to tear them out of the history books. They’re part of what we are today. And they suggest that we’re no innocents ourselves: Almost certainly, we’re doing things that will puzzle and mortify our grandchildren.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quote of the day

Camile Paglia:
Too many gay men have lost the scathingly cruel wit for which they were famous in the pre-Stonewall era.

FLG isn't quite sure why that stuck out to him, but he chuckled. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not Relevant To Anybody Really

But FLG really wishes there were a Stew Leonard's in Northern Virginia.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Obama's Foreign Policy

Paul Miller:
In his eagerness to avoid making Bush’s [foreign policy] mistakes, [Obama] made a whole new set of mistakes. He over-interpreted the recent past, fabricating the myth about a hyper-interventionist establishment. As a result, he overreacted to the situation he inherited in 2009 and, crucially, never adjusted during his eight years in office. In this sense and others, he contrasts starkly with Bush, who made major changes in his second term. The result is that Obama retrenched when he should have engaged. He oversaw the collapse of order across the Middle East and the resurgence of great power rivalry in Europe while mismanaging two wars and reducing America’s military posture abroad to its smallest footprint since World War II. Despite the paeans of Obama’s admirers, this is not a foreign policy legacy future presidents will want to emulate.


An aside:   Try as he might, FLG cannot prevent his view that Ben Rhodes is an insufferable hubristic douchebag from influencing his thoughts on Obama's foreign policy, given the supposed mind-meld and all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

FLG Is Just Confused

The whole Milo Yiannopoulos thing popped up on FLG's radar not long before the riots at Berkeley, back when there was a shooting in Seattle.   FLG watched some videos, read some writings.   Thought he was a definitely a troll, maybe a misogynist, but didn't see evidence of white supremacist statements and was uncomfortable with people using such labels so blithely.   And he certainly thought there were left-leaning reporters who were biased against Yiannopoulos, his supporters, and generally  those who came to listen to him.

Next thing FLG knows, the man is on Bill Maher.  And like five seconds later,  he's accused of supporting pedophilia, loses his book deal, and resigns from Breitbart.  Something about it didn't quite sit right with FLG.   Were Yiannopoulos' statements portrayed correctly?   Why did a year old interview all of a sudden get national attention?  Seemed weird.

As part of FLG's research into this issue this evening, he came across this video, which has that crazy series of connections that one has trouble following, which is so common of conspiracy theories, but nevertheless did make FLG want to learn more about GamerGate.  Because after a little more googling, FLG is actually a little bit concerned that there are a coordinating group of hardcore progressives in the media who were involved in GamerGate, who were burned and believe revenge is a dish best served cold.  (Because despite what the media portrays, FLG things the gamers actually won GamerGate.)  If if that's true, he'd like to at least be aware who they are.  At the same time, he's only slightly less worried he's getting into tinfoil hat zone and overlooking intentionally hateful speech, rather than just extremely provocative jokes. 

Anyway, FLG is very confused about the whole thing.   A large reason why is that he simply doesn't trust journalists to report fairly and accurately on this topic, which means no sources a credible, and the it takes way more time than he really cares to put into it to figure out the truth.   Milo seemed to have said that the legal age of consent was about right, but that his personal experience led him to believe it's an arbitrary age decided in law and that some individuals may be, in fact, be able to engage in sexual activity at a younger age without negative ramifications, perhaps even beneficially, but Yiannopoulos, as far as FLG can tell, didn't advocate changing the law, nor breaking the law. 

By the way, you might be asking....FLG, he was a troll who said a variety of mean things, some consider the things he said to be the various -ists (sexist, racist, etc),  now it appears he said something supportive of pedophilia, why are you even worried about it?     He's not a sympathetic character and it's not worth the effort to find out.    Agreed, he's not sympathetic, but FLG hates the outright mischaracterization and bias of reporting about Yianopoulos.   Troll?  Definitely.   Misogynist?   FLG thinks somethings he said could be considered misogynist.   White supremacist / Neo-Nazi?   Nope, didn't see that.  And it matters to FLG a great deal to see people called something when there isn't evidence of it.   (Though, in fairness, he did say some kinda nice things about some of the more white supremacist / Neo-Nazi wing of the Alt-Right, but FLG doesn't think that's the same thing.)  

Similarly, FLG is also concerned about the people on the Left's increasing accusations of so-called dogwhistles.  That's literally saying that the meaning of the word is different from the commonly understood meaning of the word, so they said one thing but mean another thing that is horrible, but they didn't actually say the horrible thing you have to take their political enemies word that they meant the horrible thing.   It's dangerous allow frivolous claims of this type to become normalized.

To close out a meandering post, FLG is similarly concerned about the post-Truth Trump stuff, but he thinks that's being analyzed to the hilt.   He doesn't need to add yet another post on how Trump's relationship with the truth is a threat to our republic. 



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Quote of the day

Megan McArdle:
Countries with a big hammer will inevitably end up using it in ways that turn out to be stupid. (See: Iraq.) It also, inevitably means that the security umbrella of the world will be used in ways that the country that owns it likes. (See complaints by every country except the U.S., many of them justified.) But for all that, you can certainly imagine a country with an America-sized military advantage doing much worse things with it. Many worse things. In fact, when you think about alternative histories, we’re pretty far into the “happy” zone of the spectrum. Not all the way to utopia, mind you. But a lot better than you’d imagine, if you’d never heard of the United States of America and you were plotting out your science fiction novel with a dominant, heavily armed nation.

Science Is Probably Correct, But Even It Has Limits

FLG totally understands why many or even most scientists are atheists.   Make sense.  Not a problem.   But sometimes, like all of us, their belief system leads them astray.  For instance, the claim by Brian Cox that the Large Hadron Collider disproved the existence of what he called "ghosts," but from the quotes FLG would argue is more a soul, specifically the immoral part of us that exists after death.

I would say if there's some kind of substance that's driving our bodies, making my arms move and legs move, then it must interact with the particles out of which our bodies are made. And seeing as we've made high precision measurements of the ways that particles interact, then my assertion is there can be no such thing as an energy source that's driving our bodies.

Look, FLG understands why scientists question the existence of these types of supernatural things.   One can argue, very compellingly, about the complete and utter lack of scientific evidence for them.   Got it.  Point conceded.  But to say that we've seen no evidence of supernatural forces after smashing together protons at blistering speeds means that this DISPROVES anything about the afterlife is fallacious.

There's an argument that FLG has heard.   If you say there is an elephant in the courtyard, but we look and don't see one, then the existence of the elephant has been disproven.  But what if you are claiming that there is an elephant that is invisible, tasteless, odorless, silent, and massless.   Well, one, that's not an elephant by an definition FLG has ever heard of, and, yes, the burden of proof is most definitely upon you for making such an outlandish claim, and yes, a rational person would be justified in not believing such an elephant exists and living their life assuming you are delusional.   But, nobody has definitely disproven your claim.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

This Poll Makes FLG Feel Better

Boston Herald:
In a Politico/Morning Consult poll released yesterday, any unnamed Democrat beats President Trump in a 2020 presidential matchup. A dust mop with a “Democrat” sign on it beats Trump. But the Senate’s liberal darling doesn’t. Trump, despite his own series of stumbles, still beats Warren — one of the Democrats’ most prominent national faces — 42-36.

FLG finds Warren insufferable and was beginning to worry the American people didn't.   Here's hoping the Dems actually pick a good candidate.

Monday, February 13, 2017

So True

Saw The Matrix sequels on TV the other day and this is so, so spot on:

Andrew's Back

FLG is exicted to see Andrew Sullivan will be writing more regularly, and he begins thusly:
I want to start with Trump’s lies. It’s now a commonplace that Trump and his underlings tell whoppers. Fact-checkers have never had it so good. But all politicians lie. Bill Clinton could barely go a day without some shading or parsing of the truth. Richard Nixon was famously tricky. But all the traditional political fibbers nonetheless paid some deference to the truth — even as they were dodging it. They acknowledged a shared reality and bowed to it. They acknowledged the need for a common set of facts in order for a liberal democracy to function at all. Trump’s lies are different. They are direct refutations of reality — and their propagation and repetition is about enforcing his power rather than wriggling out of a political conundrum. They are attacks on the very possibility of a reasoned discourse, the kind of bald-faced lies that authoritarians issue as a way to test loyalty and force their subjects into submission. That first press conference when Sean Spicer was sent out to lie and fulminate to the press about the inauguration crowd reminded me of some Soviet apparatchik having his loyalty tested to see if he could repeat in public what he knew to be false. It was comical, but also faintly chilling.


FWIW, FLG has been fascinated by Wilde's Platonic dialogue, The Decay of Lying, since he recently discovered it.    Along with Camille Paglia's contention that the emergence of transgenderism signifies the end of Western culture, it has sparked a keen interest by FLG in the mauve decade.  He's convinced there are lessons to be learned there.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Quote of the day

What?

RealClearLife:
Jesse Eisenberg is a gifted actor, for sure, but all of the movies he’s in, he’s basically the same guy: quirky, dorky, bookish Jesse Eisenberg. 

 FLG would like to take the liberty of rephrasing that statement:  Jesse Eisenberg is a gifted actor, for sure, but he has zero range.   Upon rephrasing, the incoherent nonsense reveals itself.   So, FLG asks, what the fuck exactly is your criteria for good acting?

Look, there are a bunch of actors who FLG enjoys watching, but aren't particularly good actors.   John Travolta, for example, isn't a good actor.   His talent, and to be honest it's a huge talent, is looking like he is having the most fun of his life on screen.   That feeling is infectious, and the audience, or at least FLG, comes away from John Travolta movies happier than he went in.  This is true, even when he's a bad guy.  But he's not a good actor.

Perhaps, for some people, watching a quirky, dorky, bookish Jesse Eisenberg on screen there's a John Travolta effect.   Definitely not true for FLG, it's almost the opposite.   Eisenberg's screen time is like nails on a chalkboard, no more so then his fucking horrible Lex Luthor, the worst part of a bad movie.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sugary Sweetness of Climate Science

FLG really wishes Gary Taubes would take a look at climate change science.   Frankly, FLG doesn't know enough about climate change, guesses the climate is probably changing due to human activity mostly because that's what the experts are saying, but is very concerned about the politicization of the entire topic, in particular of those experts.  

As FLG says over and over, once a person goes from describing phenomena to prescribing an action, they've assigned values.  To return to his favorite example, if FLG says you are wet, that's a objective fact.   Once he hands you a towel, he is saying being dry is better than being wet.  

FLG feels the same way about climate change.  The people studying it are most definitely not disinterested observers.   Almost all of them say something needs to be done.   And it seems that a goodly portion think we need to do something IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID CERTAIN DEATH.   Not exactly the type of thing to create a milieu of disinterested observation.  (In fairness, FLG thinks this is largely unavoidable.  Individuals are very often motivated to become experts in some topic because they want to effect some change -- curing cancer, for example, or heart disease, which is what largely led nutrition and public health astray according to Taubes -- so this isn't just a climate change example.)  

In any case, if you replace "public health" with "climate science" in Gary's talk, 1:53 mark until around the 30 minute mark, the discussion describes what concerns FLG about climate science:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quote of the day

A few days old, but still made FLG laugh:
China shall, immediately and without hesitation, send us their wall. Done. Boom.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Attitudes Like This Will Re-Elect Trump

FLG isn't very religious at all, but when he reads stuff like this he gets why religious believers believe they are under attack:
Gorsuch, the son of perhaps the most corrupt head of the Environmental Protection Agency in its history, came down on the side of religious zealots in the notorious case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., in which the craft chain’s owners won the right to deny their employees contraception coverage despite the ACA’s mandate. In the 10th Circuit’s ruling, Gorsuch attributed to the company the capacity for spiritual reverie. The ACA forced Hobby Lobby to “violate their religious faith” by covering birth control, which “their religion teaches to be gravely wrong.” Gorsuch described birth control drugs and devices as having the effect of “destroying a fertilized human egg”—a claim that is demonstrably false, even in most cases of emergency contraceptive use.
Gorsuch also joined a dissenting opinion when Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, another challenge to the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, came before the 10th Circuit. The dissent called the mandate a burden to the plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion. In a 1996 amicus brief in a case about physician-assisted suicide, Gorsuch wrote that requiring public hospitals to provide abortions was an instance of “the courts [feeling] free to override the conscience of health care providers.” In other words, Gorsuch believes that doctors, corporations, and individuals should be able to discriminate against women, preventing them from accessing necessary health care, on account of any personal whim they claim to the court.

FLG is in favor of the broad availability of contraception, even Plan B, but he has several objections to the above.   None more so than dismissing religious beliefs, by all accounts sincerely held (in one case we're talking about NUNS FOR FUCK'S SAKE) regarding what they literally consider a life and death issue as personal whims.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Has Everybody Lost Their Minds?

FLG voted for Hillary Clinton.   Trump was nowhere near his first choice.  However, as far as he can tell, Trump did whatever the fuck he does is immediately portrayed by the media as the worst thing since [insert Biggest Threat to Democracy or American Values since Hitler, Holocaust, or Japanese Internment].  This is then followed by even more hyperbolic meme on Facebook and social media.

Look, FLG gets it.   He's sure people on the Left were like, hey, what the fuck is wrong with everybody on the Right who thinks there are death panels in the Obamacare bill.  There are no death panels in the Obamacare bill.   And people on the Right were like, okay, but that's where this line of policies eventually leads.  So, yes, the slippery slope stuff, FLG gets.   But there is a whole bunch of crazy shit coming from normally sane people.

Or maybe FLG is just whistling past the graveyard here.  But he doesn't think so.   Trump's policies have been unwise and hamfistedly implemented, but don't rise to the level of a constitutional crisis or the end of America as we know it.  Maybe FLG will be proven wrong, and will become aware of the imminent mortal threat to everything this country holds dear too late.   But, jeez, right now, he wants everybody to take a fucking chill pill for a second and ask themselves if they really think, literally, Trump is the third anti-Christ.

Quote of the day

Megan McArdle:
If everything you disagree with is the Holocaust, then you can’t really criticize people for using the Nuremberg Defense. Sometimes, people do have to follow orders they disagree with, even orders that they think may result in someone being hurt. Because the alternative is a society of 300 million freelance legislators. And large-scale anarchy does not generally produce the greater moral good.

FLG also agrees with this:
To lay down a marker: If a court rules against Trump’s executive orders, and he defies that court (not foot dragging or weaselly legal interpretations, but Jacksonian “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it”), then I think Congress will have a moral duty to impeach him. 
 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.