Thursday, July 31, 2008

A former Philosophy of Mine: Regitonics

I developed the political philosophy of Regitonics during my idealist stage in the early 90's. I have long since abandoned it..............but for old times sake here are the central ideas.

1. Neither Capitalism nor Communism are solutions for the problems that ail humanity.

2. Capitalism breeds excessive 'Individual Materialism'. Communism generates an over abundance of 'State Materialism'. Capitalism also crushes initiative by its emphasis on immediate money making projects (that are often not future orientated). Communism destroys initiative by discouraging individual freedoms, motivations and talents.

3. However the main Problem for both ideologies is their inability to control materialism.

4. Excessive Materialism destroys natural resources, creates gross inequalities in wealth and power and in the long run is self-destructive for our species.

5. What is needed is a new philosophy… I propose Regitonics.

What is Regitonics? The word derives from Reg(al) - Latin for king/queen and tonic (solution). Regitonics tries to fuse the 'good' of both Capitalism and Communism together. Its focus is on the Macro-project drive.

6. In the Reagan Era a booming economy was driven by a negative driver (the arms race and its spin off industries - although this was necessary to defeat Communism). Regitonics looks at this method of driving an economy but puts its faith in a 'positive driver'.

7. Positive Drivers include:
Pollution Control/Ecological Damage
Urban Renewal
National Health
Food Production
Infrastructure Maintenance
Telecommunication Enhancement
Housing Development

8. I believe that the drive to overcome these problems can stimulate the economy, distribute wealth more fairly, provide avenues of outlet for the diversity of talents that humanity is blessed with and improve the overall well-being of the human condition.

9. This may sound like fantasy but it is not. What is needed is strong action by both government, labour and free enterprise.

10. Government will lead but Free Enterprise and labour will follow close behind as the benefits to all are significant.

11. Five actions that will drive the Regitonic Economy are:

· A re-direction of state funding to the new ' Global Macro-projects';
· Government tax incentives to Free Enterprise for investing in Global-Macro-projects;
· Corporate Tax penalties for avoiding Macro-Project Funding;
· An agreement by Free Enterprise to link increasing revenues to more equitable wealth sharing with labour;
· An agreement by labour to decrease wage demand strikes.

12. Free enterprise will profit from government contracts. Regitonics will encourage spin off industries that will drive the economy further creating more overall wealth. Excessive Materialism will be checked by the five principles mentioned in 11.

13. Although some of these ideas may come across as a benign form of socialism. It is not. Regitonics will still create a differential wealth structure which is an observed necessity for stimulating human drive and motivation. The differential however will not be as pronounced as it currently is due to agreement-forced profit sharing.

14. All of these advances will hopefully create a more just economic society, that in turn will provide a less rocky foundation for businesses to grow in the future.

James Bond type movies and their cliches

1. The Plot will always begin in a remote part of the world.

2. Things are never as they seem. An evil mastermind is always behind something that looks like a small time operation.

3. The Evil Mastermind has a private army in another remote part of the world. His/her operation's are either underwater, underground or in space. No attempt will ever be made to find out how this army was recruited. Was there an advert somewhere in a magazine such as Soldier of Fortune?

4. The Evil Mastermind will send some goons to kill the hero at the beginning of the movie. The hero will of course kill all of these goons.

5. A pretty woman will appear who is associated with the Mastermind. She will turn against the Mastermind toward the end of the movie after hearing the true details of the evil plans as revealed to her by the Mastermind or the hero.

6. The Mastermind will always be a person of culture enjoying and appreciating the finest foods, art, music and literature.

7. The Evil Mastermind will capture the hero, set him up in a diabolical death trap which the hero will escape from to destroy the Mastermind's plans.

8. All bombs will be defused with one second remaining on the timer.

9. The hero will succeed in reducing to rubble the Mastermind's hidden complex. The complex will either self obliterate (a popular design mechanism) or be destroyed during the course of the chaos created by the hero.

10. The hero will infiltrate the Mastermind's headquarters by knocking out one of the latter's troops and dressing up in the soldier's uniform that will of course fit perfectly.

11. Special forces or government troops will arrive at the end of the movie (from nowhere) to mop up the operations.

12. When diffusing a bomb all 50/50 guesses will prove correct.

13. The hero will be familiar with all types of machinery/equipment at the Mastermind's headquarters. No learning curve will be needed to master any machinery.

14. During the chase which can take place on either land, sea or air (and which occurs in the middle of the movie) all the Mastermind's pursuer vehicles will be destroyed. Several drivers will die of which at least one will meet their fate in an extremely grizzly death.

15. The hero will always have time for wisecracks no matter how precarious the situation.

16. The previous agent given the assignment before the hero will always be killed. Although he/she will supply enough information to make the hero's work significantly confusing.

17. The Evil Mastermind's motives are one of three types a) to destroy the world and start a new with the Mastermind's 'utopic' plans ruling supreme; b) to extract a large sum of money from the world powers; or c) to exact revenge on some country for an injustice suffered in the past.

18. Specialized weapons given to the hero will always prove useful. Most often in unexpected circumstances.

19. The hero will annoy their boss and will have a problem with discipline. Heroes will be completely fearless, adapt at any sport or art form, understand all automation, speak several languages and be somewhat of a know-it-all. The hero will be tolerated by their boss as they have of course saved the world on several occasions (put that on your resume).

20. When playing cards the hero will always be dealt the best hand and if not will succeed in bluffing towards a win.

21. Any supplemental agents bought along to assist the hero will either be captured or killed.

22. The Mastermind will often attempt an escape, after their plans have gone awry, by holding the hero's lover hostage.

23. If the Mastermind does escape. One can with full certainty expect that he/she will reappear in a sequel with even more of a diabolical plot.

24. The Mastermind often makes use of an escape pod that will be activated before the complex self obliterates.

25. The Mastermind will have a strong but psychopathic henchman who will battle the hero in a fisticuff. If the fisticuff appears at the beginning of the movie then expect a second fight between the two near the movie's end. In the second fight the henchman will die a savage death.

Trip Down Memory Lane Series

I plan to add each week on this blog a trip down memory lane post. I have already added one on Look and Learn Magazine.

This will be the order of the first ten postings - more to follow

1. Look and Learn Magazine
2. Coe vs Ovett
3. Pretoria Boys High
4. Roy of the Rovers
5. 1000 Great Lives
6. Liverpool in the 80s
7. British Lions Tour 1980
8. Reagan v Mondale 1984
9. Johnny Mac
10. Chris De Burgh

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Movies II

More reviews

Dark Knight - It went about eighty percent of the way to living up to its hype however I did not feel that the movie was as good as Batman Begins (a definite 8.5/10). Nevertheless Heath Ledger was brilliant on the joker role (although he may have paid indirectly for this with his life - such is the tragedy of a method actor). Christian Bale was more than adequate as Batman - vastly superior to Val Kilmer and George Clooney and more or less on par with Michael Keaton. Make no mistake this is not a movie for kids or sensitive adults. It is violent all the way with the Joker playing the role of psychopathic terrorist as opposed to comic book villain.

Rating: 7.5/10

28 Weeks later - I am very partial to post-apocalyptic films and this one didn't disappoint. As expected it is eerily gruesome and continued the theme of its predecessor, 28 Days Later, in outlining the devastation in modern Britain caused by a lethal viral disease outbreak. Suffice it to say the rate that the plague overcomes a victim, which in the movie appears to be instantaneous following exposure to the pathogen, is not realistic but such license undeniably facilitates better entertainment and suspense (I Am Legend made use of the same phenomena but was a weaker movie overall). An added plus to 28 Weeks later is the excellent soundtrack courtesy of John Murphy.

Rating: 8/10

(Robert Caryle was one of the main characters in the 28 Weeks later. Is it my imagination or does it seem as though he has a role in every Brit Flick as of late?.........somewhat like Dame Judi Dench a decade ago. Fortunately I like Carlyle even if his resemblance to Tim Roth is somewhat uncanny).

Busy Airports

According to Associated Press the 10 busiest airports in the world are:

1. Atlanta - Hartsfield International
2. Chicago O'Hare - was the busiest in the 70's and 80's
3. London Heathrow
4. Tokyo Haneda
5. Los Angeles
6. Paris Charles De Gaulle
7. Dallas-Fort Worth
8. Frankfurt, Germany
9. Beijing
10. Madrid, Spain

Noteably absent? JFK - New York

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

10 Biggest Astronomy Discoveries over Last 35 Years

Astronomy Magazine is an excellent resource for amateur astronomers and enthusiasts of the discipline (such as myself). Founded in 1973, the magazine is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. In commemoration it has produced a special issue that has as one of several articles a breakdown of the Top 10 Astronomical Discoveries from 1973 to the present time.

These are:

1. Dark Energy - In 1998 it was reasoned based on discoveries by Saul Perlmutter and Brian Schmidt that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. What causes this acceleration is believed to be a force produced by Dark Energy. What exactly Dark Energy is, is any one's guess right now but data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe (one of our most important Eyes in the Sky) seems to indicate that it comprises 72% of the mass of the universe (wow!). Dark Matter (another mystery) is believed to make up 23% of the mass of the universe with visible matter making up the remaining 5%.

2. Exoplanets - These are planets that orbit stars other than that of our sun. A variety of techniques are used to locate them of which gravitational lensing is one of the most important. At present we have identified almost 300 Exoplanets since the first one was revealed in 1990. The smallest exoplanet has a mass five times that of Earth and orbits the red-dwarf star Gliese 581.

3. The Missions of the Voyager spacecraft - Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and 2, have discovered numerous moons around the outer planets. They also showed that the Giant Red Spot on Jupiter is a high-pressure system, that the planet has an auroral glow near its poles and has a complex ring system (made up of ringlets) encircling it. Data about the volcanic nature of the Jovian moon - Io, has also come to light while discoveries have been made about Europa (it is now believed to be a very young moon with few impact craters), Callisto (has many craters) and Gannymede (has a rough terrain).
The Voyagers showed that Saturn's large moon Titan has a nitrogen-rich atmosphere with a pressure level equivalency of fifty times that present on the Earth's surface. Uranus' strong magnetic field has also been documented thanks to the Voyagers as have revelations regarding Uranus' ring system. Neptune is now believed to be a site for large storms, with its moon Triton (which has a thin atmosphere) demonstrating geyser-like eruptions.
Both spacecraft have crossed the solar system boundary and are presently 13 billion kilometers away from the Sun.

4. Inflation during the Early Big Bang - Why is there almost no temperature variation in the cosmos despite the fact the ancient cosmos did not have time to reach thermal equilibrium? The best answer to this question resides with a model developed by MIT physicist Alan Guth in 1981. Guth argues that within in a small fraction of a second of the Big Bang the cosmos underwent a rapid inflation or hyper-expansion. The end result is the system of thermal equilibrium and a flat universe. Any evidence for inflation? Yes according to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (the same device that provided evidence that the universe is 13.7 billion years old) which revealed support for this idea from data obtained in 2006. Now theorists are on work expanding (no pun here) the inflation theory to include such notions as 'eternal inflation' and multiverses.

5. Black Holes exist - Stephen Hawking can sleep better at night knowing this fact courtesy of discoveries made by the Hubble Telescope. It appears as though Black Holes exist at the center of most if not all galaxies). What is the mass of one of these black holes? Somewhere in the order of several million to a billion Sun's (and you thought you had a weight problem).

6. Gamma Ray Bursts - The bursts originate from the distant universe, occur at a frequency of one burst per day (as evidenced by NASA's Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory) and produce more energy in a few seconds than the sun will over its 10 billion year lifespan. The cause of these bursts are thought to be intense supernovae. Short burst often arise from neutron stars or black holes.

7. Galaxies eat one another for fun - Believe it or not but they do with our own Milky Way and the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy being two of the worst predatory culprits within the Local Group. Once such victim is the Sagittaurius Dwarf Galaxy that resides about 100,000 light years from Earth - another is Omega Centauri. Cannibalized galaxies generally appear as massive globular clusters.

8. Supernova 1987A - The closest supernova to Earth since the discovery of the Telescope - Supernova 1987A's stellar blast occured on February 24th 1987 (it is located about 160,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud). One of its gifts to Earth were trillions and trillions of neutrinos of which two dozen were captured by detectors on our home planet. The region is currently glowing as shock waves run into the gaseous rings. To see some photographs of this go to Supernova1987A.

9. The Great Attractor - Our galaxy is part of a Local Group that is moving toward the Virgo Supercluster but in the 1970's observations indicated that this supercluster is in itself moving towards a Great Attractor's Center that contains up to 100,000 galaxies and is located 250 million light years from Earth.

10. The Milky Way is a Barred Spiral - Yes our home galaxy is not a true spiral but contains a bar that extends 27,000 light years and tilts at an angle of 45 degrees to a line from the sun to the galaxy's center.

Monday, July 28, 2008

In the News XL

Islamist Terrorists strike again
The left often claim that the terror has been blown out of proportion (no pun intended).
The bomb attacks in Turkey, Iraq, India and Pakistan tell a far different story.
Islamist terror is a global phenomena that must be taken seriously.
For more on this evil read:
The Religion of Peace - As of July 26th 2008, 11530 people have been killed by Islamist terrorists - and Jihad Watch.

Former Bosnian Serb leader - Radovan Karadzic arrested
This is an extremely positive move. However there are other hang overs from the Bosnoan War with bloody hands as well - such as Ratko Mladic whose hands are stained with blood as well - who still defy capture. Also why is there so little movement in bringing to justice Croat and Bosnian Muslim war criminals. After all war crimes were perpetrated by both sides in this 90s conflict.

Gordon Brown hoping for the Obama magic
He needs some of this magic to stave off a potential election defeat. However the British PM is struggling with even some in his party calling for his resignation. I expect him to stave off a party insurection as he has the backing of the bosses and may even fluke an election victory as did John Major in the post Thatcher era (1992) and Canadian PM Paul Martin (2004).

Is South Africa finally getting tough on Zimbabwe's Mugabe?
I hope so and if you believe this story from the Timesonline it may indeed be the case. However as usual the mixed messages coming from Africa's superpower illustrates that Pretoria is still not prepared to drop the dictator - just yet . My ongoing question - Is the Mugabe scenario (especially the farm confiscation and rigged elections) a prequel to how events may roll out in South Africa twenty years hence? As a former South African citizen, I wouldn't wager against it.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert on his way out?...........We can only hope
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni seems to think so and I agree. Although I doubt whether Livni as the new Kadima leader woyld be any better. Olmert may himself call it quit as should Shimon Peres...........a long time ago. It also looks as though negotiations on the release of Israeli POW Gilad Shalit are on hold for now. Shalit is being held by the terror supporting Hamas regime in Gaza. Speaking of Hamas it appears as though Fatah is clamping down on its main rival in the West Bank. I wonder if this is all for show.

Canadian Politics as of late
The Montreal Gazette claims PM Stephen Harper's minority has run its course - I agree it should be replaced by a Conservative majority. 'Lie'beral leader Stephane Dion also seems to think that there may be a fall general election. Although his party of default needs to ingest some 'courage pills' before that can take on the Conservatives. The Cadman tapes saga has surfaced again with a judge ordered analysis of the tapes. As for the increasingly left-of-center Globe and Mail it is working over time as a mouthpiece for the 'Lie' beral Party in keeping alive the non-existant link between Harper and former PM Brian Mulroney with respect to the Schreiber deal (a topic which the public couldn't care less about).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the News XXXIX

I will endeavour to maintain my 'In the News series' updated on a weekly basis:

Barack Obama committed to Israel Security
He says this now but how long will it take him to flip-flop?
I guess when the 'Moveon' crowd get wind of this.

A worthwhile analysis on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco
Easy money to blame. What about personal responsibility?

Raul Castro: Pro-Market?
Looks like the pragmatist in brother Raul might be winning the battle over ideology.

Inflation in Zimbabwe: 3,000,000%
Quadrillion Zim dollars just doesn't buy anything of consequence these days.

More fallout from the Olmert/Kadima cave-in
This article carries with it some significant into the lunancy of these lopsided prisoner exchange deals. Such as (Quote from the article):

This is particularly grave because Hamas has greatly upped the ante on Israel's already lopsided prisoner swaps. Previous deals entailed ratios of around 450:1 (which is precisely why no thinking person could have imagined that Hizbullah would free living captives in exchange for a mere five terrorists). But Hamas is demanding a 1,000:1 ratio: 450 prisoners whose identities it will dictate, plus 550 chosen by Israel and released later in what our cabinet euphemistically terms a "gesture to [Palestinian leader] Mahmoud Abbas" - as if anyone were incapable of figuring out who really secured this "gesture." Moreover, whereas the most vicious killers were generally excluded from previous deals, Hamas is demanding hundreds of mass murderers in exchange for Schalit. Indeed, its list is so outrageous that the cabinet has thus far approved only 71 of the 450 names. Yet now, ministers are saying they must capitulate.

Most Expensive Cities in the World to live
See for full list
1. Moscow (3rd year running) - over 1.4 times more expensive than New York
2. Tokyo
3. London
4. Oslo
5. Seoul
6. Hong Kong
7. Copenhagen
8. Geneva
9. Zurich
10. Milan
22. New York - only US City in Top 50
Cheapest city - Asuncion, Paraguay

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trip Down Memory Lane I - Look and Learn Magazine

Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I am a general knowledge nut. In both elementary and high schools I competed in challenge contests in this regards and would be the first to admit that I am a sucker for a great quiz book, almanac, fact finder or encyclopedia (Yes I used to read encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun - come to think of it I still do). I am both grateful to my grandather and father for encouraging such pursuits which I believe have broadened my understanding of the world.

An earlier read of mine between 1976 and 1982 was Look and Learn Magazine (LLM). Produced specifically for an adolescent readership the magazine contained articles on history, the sciences, literature, art, music and numerous other intellectial pursuits. Its illustrations were first rate as was its text which was written in such a format as to actively encourage a zest for knowledge.

LLM was published between 1962 and 1982 by IPC Media. The last issue was #1049 (I have about 300+ issues at home as well as several Annuals and Quiz Books). In 2004, a new company called Look and Learn Magazine Ltd, bought the rights to the magazine - with the exception of some comic strips - and has began reprinting this wonderful the best of LLM on a selective basis.

The website contains infornation on this exciting rebirth that left me doing cartwheels.

Anyone looking to augment their child's learning with the enhanced scope that LLM fosters should make a detour to the site mentioned. Included in the rich resources is a first rate picture library and is in all respects well worth the visit.


Monday, July 21, 2008

The British Open + Great Golfers of All-Time

My favourite golfing tournament - the British Open - ended on Sunday with Irishman Padraig Harrington winning the coveted Claret Jug for the second year in succesion. While the tournament field was weakened by the absence of a certain Tiger Woods - the Open was extremely competitive as the World's best battled a tricky course and even more treacherous weather over the four days. Scores were in the high range, where they should be, in what is certainly a change from the manicured and climate friendlier environment of the PGA Tour.

I have recently compiled a listing of the Top Twenty Five Greatest Golfers of All-Time. Here is it:
1. Tiger Woods (he has 14 Majors to Nicklaus' 18 but lets face it its only a matter of time. Besides golf is more competitive nowadays.
2. Jack Nicklaus
3. Bobby Jones
4. Ben Hogen
5. Gary Player
6. Walter Hagen
7. Tom Watson
8. Arnold Palmer
9. Sam Snead
10. Gene Sarazen
11. Nick Faldo
12. Harry Vardon
13. Peter Thomson
14. Byron Nelson
15. Billy Casper
16. Seve Ballasteros
17. Greg Norman
18. Bobby Locke
19. Lee Trevino
20. Payne Stewart
21. Hale Irwin
22. Nick Price
23. Ernie Els
24. Vijay Singh
25. Phil Mickleson

Two Documentaries: One Good One Poor

First the Good One

Obsession - A focused and riveting look into the world of Radical Islam and its global spread. Obsession spares no punches in describing this universal menace - its force of hatred and vile rhetoric. While I would like to have seen a bit more on the co-ordination of the threat, the documentary's greatest strength resides in its annihilation of the fallacious arguments that 'Jihadism would not exist if the US and Israel weren't around' and 'Jihadism's root cause is a poverty'. Two lines of thought that are most popular amongst the chattering class especially in academics.

Those interviewed in the documentary include: Walid Shoebat (Former PLO terrorist), Brigitte Gabrielle, Khaled Abu Toameh, Daniel Pipes, Itamar Marcus, John Loftus, Caroline Glick and Nonie Darwish.

A definte must see for all those who champion Western Civilization in the fight against barbarism.


Maxed Out

The movie prides itself as an expose on the credit card industry but like most attacks from the left is short on balanced fact, long on emotion and poor in quality. High credit for one is 'systematically' linked to Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, the Health Care Crisis and several other phenomena that only those most apt to see 'Six Degrees of Seperation' everywhere can draw intellectual comfort. How bad was this documentary? Think about Michael Moore with less funding and less objectivity.........enough said. While I am not a big fan of credit Card companies and the exorbitant interest rates that they charge I am also a strong proponent of individual responsibility, a notion that 'Maxed out' repeatedly ignores in its 'people vs the Corporations tract'. While this stance makes fodder for whiners - it does nothing to augment meaningful debate on the subject. Skip this one if you have something better to see. Else go to: for more.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Footer Moves and Potential Moves

As a Liverpool fan I am not feeling all that confident at the moment - the Reds finished fourth last season, had poor runs in the Domestic Cups and despite a strong Champion's League still look as if they trail both Man U and Chelsea in quality.
Yes we have Torres, Gerrard, Babel and co. but so far in the off-season Liverpool have lost Crouch (to Pompey), Riise (to Roma) and Kewell (to Galataseray). Coming into the squad are the 'no-namers' Diego Cavalieri in goals (Liverpool already have a host of back up keepers), Andrea Dossena (left back) and Philip Degen ( defence). Forgive me if I am not celebrating as of yet. For one who is going to partner Fernando Torres up front? Voronin and Kuyt are not prolific and unless we hurry up and pick up Robbie Keane (which seems unlikely if United acquire Dmitar Berbatov - Spurs cannot afford to give up both of their front men) goal scoring may be an issue next season. I hope that we are not forced to settle for some Spanish striker from Malaga or Cadiz, as seems the norm with Liverpool for players these days.

On other fronts. Here is my opinion on some of the moves and potential moves (potential moves are indicated with a ?)

Ronaldinho to Milan from Barcelona - The Bbrazilian has been in decline since the 2006 World Cup. He could re-ignite his career at the San Siro but Ancelotti (the AC Milan manager) has to be concerned that Ronaldinho's partnership (in the Brazilian national team) with AC Milan's other playmaker, Kaka, has not yielded results in the past.

Robinho to Chelsea (?) - The Brazilian is overvalued and will only move if Real Madrid can acquire Ronaldo from Man U or Chelsea are dumb enough to pay the ridiculous asking price (40 million pounds plus). Then again the Blues did buy Veron, Mutu and several other wannabees at exorbitant prices.

Ronaldo to Real Madrid from Man U (?) - According to Herr Blatter - FIFA's resident empty barrel, the Portuguese superstar is a slave to United - despite the fact that he earns millions a year with the European Champion's (if this is slavery bring it on). The Ronaldo saga is ultra boring..............yawn. Personally I wish, alongside most non- Man U fans, that he would leave, along with his jiggle and diving attributes and join Real Madrid where he can then play alongside other such premaddonasas Van der Horseface, Sjneider and Robben. Anyway it looks as though he won't be sold..............yet for now.

Hleb to Barcelona from Arsenal - If Arsene Wenger lets you go it must be because you have past your best sell by date. I doubt whether the Frenchman is wrong on this one. He certainly wasn't with Overmars, Petit, Viera and Henry.

Steve Sidwell Chelsea to Aston Villa - From benchwarmer at Chelsea to partial benchwarmer at Villa. A good move for Stevie boy.

David Bentley Blackburn to Spurs(?) - This would represent a great pickup for London's regular underachievers but expect Paul Ince and his Lancashire enterouge to milk this for all its worth (although not as much as Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill who performed a textbook case study in how to lose a positve sale with respect to the Gareth Barry debacle).

Economist - same old same old

I used to be a big fan of the Economist. In fact for most of the late 90's I subscribed to the magazine and dilligently read through the broad topics that it appeared to so thoroughly cover. By 2001 I had gone weary of the magazine - its endless endorsement of free trade as a panacea to the world's ills, its condescending attitude (if only the world would listen to us....) and its pro-Arabist stance were tiresome. Like most British publications it was overly critical of Israel (it still claims to support the Jewish state - how much of it ? Is another question). At the same time it regularly downplays the Islamofascist threat.
Nevertheless for old time sake I still glance at the magazine at bookstores and on the odd occasion even purchase one. I have yet to see an impovement in their stance on the Middle East - a sentiment which was confirmed by this week's leader story which urged Europe to embrace the Muslm nations of the Mediterranean (all of which other than Turkey are undemocratic) while delibrately ignoring Israel (as if the Jewish state was not really part of the region). Palestine (whatever that is nowdays) was of course given honourable mention.
Europe for the most part has been embracing these Mediterranean nations for some time now - so this is hardly a novel idea. The main motivation for this stance is the lure of the 'quick buck' with democracy and the championing of human rights (despite the lip service) playing very second fiddle. In fact if anything Europe has acted as an enabler to some of the most vile regimes on the planets by their policies (France and Germany in particular with their weapons sales stand out as such) .
In light of this what the Economist should be encouraging, is not more business as usual, but a tougher political stance of limited or zero tolerance, that will facilitate positive change in the power dynamic in the region. Not everything is about money.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Tony Snow R.I.P
He was an astute human being, a mensch and a champion of democracy,2933,382764,00.html

Obama Cartoons
I am no fan of the pretentious New Yorker and find the cartoons as well as the satire that they attempted to convey 'silly'.
Full credit to the McCain camp for denouncing the cartoons which do nothing but lower the standard of political discourse.
Nevertheless what interests me is how the cartoons will be interpreted - I am not convinced that the satire is that obvious to all and it would not surprise me if many, just by looking at the cover, will be more likely to accept the meme that Obama is a weak force in the War Against Terror. The New Yorker may just have handed the McCain campaign the Willy Horton of 2008.

Israel reveals weakness and receives two bodies
Israeli leadership continued with the 'Mr. Nice guy' approach by handing back child killer , Sumar Qantar, and four other terrorists (as well as the bones of many more) in exchange for the bodies of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The whole story of Israel capitulating to the demands of Islamofascists is sickening. Where is the brave leadership that the Jewish state so needs? Where are the Ben-Gurions, Meirs, Begins and Shamirs? Ehud Olmert has to go...

In the ABC article Shimon Peres claimed that he used his power under Israeli law to pardon Samir Qantar. I wonder how he can look the family of Qantar's victims - Danny Haran and his four year old daughter Einat (whom Qantar smashed in the head with a rifle) - in the eye.
Shame on you Peres.
For more on this go to:


Will Chavez come clean and denounce FARC?
I doubt it. His support of FARC lies at the core of his radical ideology.

Hugo Chavez, Ortega call for Latin American unity
Yes...they are looking to see how they can further impoverish the region on a larger scale.

Alberta betrayed once again
Looks like the Ghost of Pierre Trudeau is alive and well.

US Envoy to meet Iranian Nuke negotiator,2933,383381,00.html
Concessions anyone?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quiz #6 - Dogs

I haven't posted a quiz for ages on this blog although I do post them frequently on

Here is a fun quiz on Dogs


1. What colour are Dalmatian puppies when they are born?
2. What is the smallest breed of dog?
3. This breed of dog is the most intelligent. Name the dog?
4. What is the oldest breed of dog?
5. Which dog breed is the heaviest?
6. Which breed bites humans more often than any other?
7. How many times is a dog’s sense of smell better than ours?
8. True or False: Dogs are colourblind.
9. With which US state do you associate the Malmute?
10. Which country do Weimaraners originate from?
11. What breed of dog is associated with Ancient Chinese royalty?
12. An Australian wild dog is also known as a…

Answers to Dogs Quiz

1. All White
2. Chihuahuas.
3. The Collie. Afghans are the dumbest.
4. The Saluki – Egyptian greyhounds. Breed is ten thousand years old.
5. The St. Bernard though Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest.
6. German Shepherds.
7. A thousand times.
8. False. Although their sense of vision is poor.
9. Alaska.
10. Germany. It’s a 19th century breed.
11. The Pekingese.
12. The Dingo.

Personal Maxims

I view life as a jouney or quest for self-improvement. There is no doubt that it is challenging - which is a necessary characteristic. Perseverence is key. A strong relationship to G-d has personally helped me.

The following list of maxims are what I attempt to live up to (although not always with success).

1. Trust in G-d. Communicate with G-d.
2. Think before speaking.
3. Life needs meaning - one of the reasons I became a teacher
4. Control one's anger
5. Stand up for yourself
6. Broaden one's mind - by reading and trying out new ideas.
7. Use logic and reason to solve problems - this does not contradict religious faith.
8. Give unto others. The more one gives with meaning the more one grows.
9. Don't shy away from the unknown.
10. Avoid Junk - this includes Food, reading material, entertainment etc.
11. Place meaning well ahead of materialism.
12. Take the upbringing of your children very seriosly.
13. Think about the Big Picture. Prioritize accordingly.
14. Never let your imagination deterioate.
15. Very Important - Take the upbringing of your children very seriously.
16. Be mindful of fads and trends (but not necessarily close minded).
17. Question - so that you can improve.
18. Try and not take take events personally (not an easy one - I often struggle with this).
19. Set aside time for leisure.
20. Life is not a rush to a finish line.

Friday, July 11, 2008

From the New Scientist bench

Despite its obvious trend toward the political left - New Scientist is still an excellent periodical.
As mentioned before I have been a subscriber for seven years. I recently tossed out a cartload of older issues (much to my wife's pleasure) to make some space around the house (no fear though - older information is made available online to all New Scientist subscribers via a Web archive).

While I make an honest attempt to read every issue (not an easy feat what with the arrival of a new baby and a busy school year before that) I have to admit to being selective at times.
Physics articles almost always grab my fancy (no surprise as I am a Physics teacher). As of late many of these articles have centered around the Multiverse theories and Alternatives to Early Universe Expansion. Particle physics seems to be frozen in a lull (largely due to the funding issues associated with several accelerator projects worldwide - that Higgs Boson Particle sure is stubborn). However the theoretical world is still abuzz, as the String Theorists and their critics mount arguments and counter arguments against one another's potential Theories of Everything.

On another front the Intelligent Design v Darwinian Evolution debate appears to have subsided with the proponents of ID in retreat. Although to jump ahead to a finality may be somewhat premature - see

Global Warming Science continues to take center stage in the magazine - a continuous line of thought that has become tedious. There is a tendency to see Global Warming problems 'eveywhere'. Read the extract below to find out why climate change is bad for bread

Some say that global warming may be influenced ironically by cleaner skies (at least in Europe)Mmmm.....
Come on lads bring on those particulates.........cheez
You see what I mean.......

I have little patience for many of the psychology studies that try and draw conclusions about an individual's predisposition to religion, political orientation, mate selection and regard much (but not all) of this as junk science. Nevertheless every once and a while these are great for a chuckle - see
Does this explain some of the Soviet/East German Dominance in the Cold War Era Olympics?
Methinks not.

Anyway thats enough for now..........I will continue the theme later.


Movies I

Hancock - Entertaining. Will Smith was his usual solid self. Jason Bateman was slightly annoying but the story itself was refreshing (from a superhero perspective). Not a classic but certainly above average: 6.5/10

The Cleaner - I am very partial to Samuel Jackson and this film festival movie starring Ed Harris and Eva Mendes - while a bit disjointed at time was well worth the blockbuster rental (I seem to be on a bit of a roll with rentals lately). The story, which involves a homicide scene cleanup 'guy' trying to avoid complicity in a murder, has a few twists and requires more concentrated focus than your average flick: 7/10

Flawless - Michael Caine (one of my favourites) and Demi Moore did not disappoint in this diamond robbery drama. While not living up to its name entirely (very few movies really do) it continued the positive rental streak that has become reality as of late (perhaps I have finally optimized my BS sensor and am now picking quality? No more Beta Houses or Will Ferrell movies). Some advice - follow the nuances carefully in this movie and pay special attention to Caine's witticisms. 7.5/10

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

30 Annoyances and Irritations

I have developed over the years, largely due to necessity than anything else, a patience in dealing with annoyances and irritations.. The following is a list of some irritations. Not in any conscious order.

1. Cell Phones with customized ring tones
2. Bradgalina
3. Man U bandwagoners.
4. Chelsea FC
5. CAIR and its counless litany of complaints.
6. Bush Derangement Syndrome - even though I am not a fan of the current US administration.
7. African Union inaction regarding Mugabe and the host of other dictatorships that plague the continent.
8. People who dismiss soccer as a sport based on the sole notion of low scoring games.
9. Euro Snobs
10. Home Decorating shows (my wife loves them).
11. Socialites
12. The use of the word progressive to describe what is nothing more than old fashioned socialism with a new facelift.
13. The Cult of Victimhood
14. The silly but widely circulating notion (in academia) that theism represents a lower state of cognition.
15. Political Correctness repackaged as diversity
16. Poker as a Sport
17. Stories about Celebs in rehab
18. The movement to crush debate on the causes of global warming
19. Teachers who limit their students by championing only one form of problem solving.
20. Most modern day poetry
21. The overuse of the word 'alternative'.
22. Biased Reporting from the once credible BBC
23. Phone surveys at any time
24. Harry Potter Hysteria
25. People who are proud of the fact that they 'hated Math' at school.
26. Canadian Anti-Americanism
27. Sports Salaries
28. The 'I-will-vote-for-Obama-as-he-represents-change-crowd' - Ask them what the change is and they are normally dumbfounded for detail.
29. Ethical Relativism
30. Western hypocrisy regarding China.

In the News XXXVII

An End of an Era - NASA shuttle to take last flight in 2010
Questions though: I am uncertain as to where this leaves the all important space drive. Perhaps the Private Sector Initiative wrt to space flight can take up the slack.

Obama shows signs of being trail weary,0,6269863.story
Perhaps........The LA Times has McCain in control of 202 Electoral votes, Obama at 154 while 192 remain up for grabs. As much as I like McCain though I still believe that this is Obama's election to lose.
Some Key States up for grabs: Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington.

David Cameron - tough on Crime
Have the Tory's awoken from a ten year slumber? Old Davie boy is now sounding more like Maggie Thatcher and less like the Tory Wets.

Botswana shows backbone with respect to Mugabe
Hopefully such leadership will filter dow to the rest of Africa on this issue

Mbeki on the refugee attacks - Never Again
He has failed to take a bold step on Zimbabwe - so this is yet another case of we will believe it when we see it.

Israelis sue Lebanese banks for helping Hezbollah
I am not a fan of law suits but if this one succeeds it could stem some flow of terror money (not the main flow of course which is courtesy of Iran).

Hurricane Chavez continues along its path of destroying the Venezuelan economy with old-fashioned socialism

Canadian Leftists squabble about Carbon Tax

Monday, July 07, 2008

Wimbledon 2008

Well Rafa Nadal is the new Wimbledon Champion and despite cheering for Roger Federer myself I have to give credit where it is due. The Spaniard was terrific. With respect to the match it was unbelievable - a flashback to Borg v McEnroe (1980).

I believe that Nadal has within him the ability to win all four majors. He also has time on his hands as he is only 22.

As for Federer, he will be back and will win a few more slams in the future (he has to, after all, topple Peter Sampras's record of 14 grand slams - the Swiss superstar has 12 slams to his credit).

Ten Best Wimbeldon Finals since 1978 (the year I started watching) - Eventual winner stated first

1. Borg v McEnroe (1980)
2. Nadal v Federer (2008)
3. McEnroe v Borg (1981)
4. Connors v McEnroe (1982)
5. Federer v Nadal (2007)
6. Ivanisevic v Rafter (2001)
7. Agassi v Ivanisevic (1992)
8. Borg v Tanner (1979)
9. Sampras v Rafter (2000)
10. Edberg v Becker (1990)

Six Worst Finals since 1978 - Eventual Winner stated first

1. Sampras v Ivanisevic (1994)
2. McEnroe v Lewis (1983)
3. Hewitt v Nalbandian (2002)
4. Sampras v Pioline (1997)
5. Becker v Lendl (1986)
6. Stich v Becker (1991)

Ten Greatest Modern Day Grass Court Players of All-Time

1. Pete Sampras
2. Roger Federer
3. Bjorn Borg
4. John McEnroe
5. Rod Laver
6. Boris Becker
7. Stefan Edberg
8. Lew Hoad
9. John Newcombe
10. Jimmy Connors

Ten Classic Players who never won Wimbledon

1. Ken Rosewell
2. Ivan Lendl
3. Mats Wilander
4. Guillermo Vilas
5. Vitas Gerulatis
6. Patrick Rafter
7. Ille Nastase
8. Jim Courier
9. Guestavo Kuertin
10. Andy Roddick

Six Unexpected Wimbledon Winners

1. Chuck McKinley (1963)
2. Jan Kodes (1973)
3. Michael Stich (1991)
4. Pat Cash (1987)
5. Richard Krajicek (1996)
6. Boris Becker (1985)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Top 50 Men's Tennis Players of All-Time

I am a big fan of the men's game ever since watching my first match - Connors v Borg at Wimbledon 1978.
The following is a list of my opinion of the Top 50 Greatest Players of All-Time.
(#1 being the highest).

1. Rod Laver
2. Pete Sampras
3. Roger Federer - could move to #2 in the next three months
4. Bjorn Borg
5. Bill Tilden
6. John McEnroe
7. Jimmy Connors
8. Ivan Lendl
9. Andre Agassi
10. Don Budge
11. Ken Rosewell
12. Fred Perry
13. John Newcombe
14. Guillermo Vilas
15. Boris Becker
16. Stefan Edberg
17. Rafael Nadal - This will change with time
18. Pancho Gonzalez
19. Roy Emerson
20. Mats Wilander
21. Henri Cochet
22. Rene Lacoste
23. Jean Borotra
24. Lew Hoad
25. Arthur Ashe
26. Ille Nastase
27. Jim Courier
28. Patrick Rafter
29. Jack Kramer
30. Gustavo Kuertin
31. Jack Crawford
32. Ellsworth Vines
33. Ashley Cooper
34. Bobby Riggs
35. Goran Ivanisevic
36. Vitas Gerulatis
37. Marat Safin
38. Neale Fraser
39. Lleyton Hewitt
40. Andy Roddick
41. Yannick Noah
42. Michael Chang
43. Jaroslav Drobny
44. Stan Smith
45. Sergi Bruguera
46. Manuel Santana
47. Alex Olmedo
48. Roscoe Tanner
49. Miroslav Mecir
50. Nicole Pietrangeli

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In the News XXXVI

African Sham Politics

It looks as though that scoundrel Robert Mugabe is going to walk free as his fellow dictators in the African Union continue to give him the velvet glove treatment. Call this one in the eye of democracy with South Africa's incompetent Thabo Mbeki providing furtherpolitical support to enable the tryrant. For once the French get it right:

More from 'Shove It'

The Left's second favourite dictator Hugo Chavez (Castro is #1) continues to clamp down on political opponents. This time its General Vivas Perdomo - a critic of socialist ideology (I would love to know where Amnesty International is on this one).

Israel hands back killers to Hezbollah

It looks once again that the powers that be in Israel have gone soft once again.The release of child murderer Samir Quntar (most notorious for crushing four year Eynat Haran's head with his rifle) is the most disturbing of the current prisoners for bones (ie. the bones of dead Israeli sevicemen) deal. Quntar for his part is a 'hero' amongst the PA who apparently have no problems with child killers.

Obama tries to distance himself from Wes Clarke (sort of)

Failed political flunkie Wes Clarke's remarks about John McCain - a man whose boot laces Clarke should be honoured to tie - is causing some stir amongst the Democrats. Once again Obama tries to dodge a bullet while remaining loyal to his faithful. Credit to BHO he sure knows how to shovel it...

On the Road to nowhere

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown continues to sink further into the political sludge. Now his donor base are enacting a case of Et tu Brutus.