Tuesday, 24 April 2007

9/11 Nonsense

Is there nowhere on the Internet these days where you can get away from '9/11 Truthers' making stupid claims about George Bush blowing up the World Trade Center with nuclear bombs and lasers? I'm getting sick of them infesting every forum on the Web regardless of what the subject of the forum is supposed to be.

Their 'evidence' is laughable, often destroyed in seconds by someone who understands physics and engineering, yet no matter how many times they're debunked, they'll either come back with yet another stupid claim to be debunked, or simply repeat the same claim louder. They've never seriously studied physics or engineering, haven't even bothered to read the NIST reports which explain in detail how and why the WTC buildings collapsed, yet believe themselves to be experts because they've watched a few videos.

Just to give one example, they repeatedly talk about how the towers fell 'at free fall speed'. Yet as someone who does understand physics, two seconds of the collapse video was enough for me to think 'hang on'... and ten seconds enough to demonstrate the assertion was simply absurd. The videos clearly show debris from the towers falling faster than the towers themselves; so how can the towers be 'falling at free fall speed'? How can anyone with any degree of intelligence fail to notice this?

They claim that the buildings were brought down by explosives, yet photographs show the walls around the impact sites bending before the collapse and photographs and videos clearly show that the tops of the towers were tilting several degrees before they fell. Videos and photos also show that the collapse began around the impact point. Are we supposed to believe that the government put explosives into the buildings that none of the thousands of people working there happened to notice, merely in order to make the buildings collapse just as though they'd been brought down by terrorists flying airliners into them? It's crazy.

As with so many conspiracy theorists, the 'theory' isn't supported by any real evidence, it's just a collection of 'inconsistencies' which they don't understand. They're like cockroaches, destroy one 'inconsistency' and there'll be another one along a few minutes later. None of them actually prove anything, and no serious investigator would give them more than a few seconds thought, but the '9/11 Truthers' can spend years passing the same nonsense around as though it's received wisdom from Bob.

Now, I'm not surprised that so many people are ignorant and easily-led, but I am surprised that so many people are happy to advertise their ignorance so blatantly.

If 'inconsistencies' make an argument, then think for a moment about a couple of inconsistencies with the '9/11 Truth' world-view:

If George Bush is so evil that he would arrange a plot to kill thousands of Americans so he can invade Iraq, and the '9/11 Truthers' have proof of this... why hasn't he had them killed too? Who's going to miss a couple of dozen dead wackos?

Why hasn't Bush planted WMDs in Iraq? It would be trivial to do, it would make him a hero... yet he hasn't. I myself am amazed that the US government didn't simply plant some, yet they've clearly not even been willing or able to sink to that level. And we're supposed to believe they'd blow up the WTC and kill thousands?

Now, I'm willing to accept that some people in the government may have had information that might have allowed them to stop the attack and failed to act; note that I'm not saying they did so deliberately, they might have missed the significance of the information they had, or they might just have been overworked and considered it a lower priority than other potential attacks. Regardless of the reasons, a serious investigation into why the US government didn't stop the attack despite vast billions of dollars going into 'intelligence' seems essential.

But the idea that a government that can't even fake some WMDs could create a plot that would require the involvement of thousands of people to murder thousands of Americans and destroy two iconic buildings and keep it secret to anyone other than a few wackos is just absurd.

Worse than that, if anyone in the government did have advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and deliberately sat on it to allow the attacks to go ahead, the '9/11 Truthers' are distracting from any investigation into such events by making those who might question the government's actions look like fruitcakes.

Or is that the point? Is Bush paying these people to distract from the real unanswered questions about 9/11?

Now there's a conspiracy for you.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Islamic Nukes

Am I the only one fed up with the scare stories about how Iran might one day have nukes?

Pakistan is an Islamic nation with nukes, and is one coup away from putting them in the hands of Islamic extremists. Britain and France both have nukes, and both are likely to become Islamic states within two generations; in fact, if the American government had any clue they would refuse to sell missiles to Britain to replace the current Trident fleet. Even Russia is heading towards becoming an Islamic state as Russians find better things to do than have kids, and they still have about a bazillion gigatons of nukes; the only good news is that half of their missiles probably won't work due to lack of maintenance.

Half the nukes on the planet may be in the hands of Islamic extremists soon, and we're supposed to be crapping our pants because Iran might get a low-grade nuke or two some years from now?

Get real.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Freedom and Democracy

Democracy is the idea that the opinion of two morons is worth more than the opinion of one genius, that robbing, killing and eating your neighbour is fine so long as 51% of people agree, and that sheep should be allowed to vote on which wolf gets to eat them.

I've never understood the repeated use of the term 'freedom and democracy'. How can you have freedom when 51% of the population can vote to take it away at any time? Sure, you can impose limits on the power of the mob to preserve freedom, but if the limits actually work and aren't ignored by elected psychopaths, they could equally well be imposed on any form of government. Surely the whole concept of limiting democracy is a clear admission that it doesn't work?

People often claim that democracy has lead to more freedom, but that's not because the free countries are democratic, it's precisely because their democracy was deliberately limited to prevent mob rule. America, for example, allowed the Federal government only a small number of powers and restricted the vote to a small fraction of the population. As the voting base increased and the government stole more powers than it was given, that freedom has been vanishing at an ever-increasing rate.

Think about it for a moment. 51% of the population are of average intelligence or lower, and 51% are of average income or lower. That means the stupid can always out-vote the intelligent, and the poor can always out-vote the rich. So even in the best case, democracy without voting restrictions becomes dumbocracy, rule by the poor and stupid.

The poor, of course, will generally vote to steal money from their richer neighbours. And since the very rich can always move to a lower-tax nation, that means that the middle class end up working to pay for welfare and services to the poor. Thus democracy sets out to destroy the very people who make a stable society possible. And this is 'freedom'?

Thanks to mass voting and mass media, democracy now selects for charismatic psychopaths who can lie well and look good while doing so. Other forms of government may raise such people to positions of power, but only in democracy is psychopathy almost a requirement. In addition, other forms of government often have methods of quickly eliminating such leaders; a psychopathic monarch, for example, is likely to be removed from power by his own family rather than risk the entire family being deposed by the people.

Monarchs also know that they will be handing the country to their descendants when they die, which gives them a strong incentive to preserve it as a viable nation so they have something worthwhile to hand over. Democratic leaders know they will only serve a short time and they will pass on nothing; this gives them a strong incentive to loot everything they can and leave only a shell to the party that replaces them. Why should they care what happens after they've moved abroad and are relegated to the lecture circuit?

Another of the problems of democracy is that any group can eventually take control by the simple expedient of out-breeding the competition. This is being demonstrated right now in many Western nations where the feminised native population is growing slowly or actually declining, while Muslim immigrants are breeding rapidly. The Labour party won a majority of seats in the British government at the last election with the votes of 22% of the population; so if a group chooses to vote on ethnic or religious lines, even a large minority can take power.

Similarly, democratic governments have a vested interest in increasing their voting base. If a government is losing voting share, it has a strong incentive to bring in large numbers of immigrants who will vote for it. If a government relies on the votes of the poor and deprived to gain power, then it has a strong incentive to increase the amount of poverty and deprivation, rather than to reduce it!

Now, this is not to say that democracy is all bad. Among small groups trying to make a decision that will have little negative impact on the losers, a simple vote may be the best option; but when one group can vote to steal the income of others, democracy rapidly degenerates into a war of all against all as every group tries to steal the most from the rest. Surely freedom should be more important than democracy?

Think about it for a moment. If you go on vacation and stay in a hotel, do you choose to stay in a hotel where the other guests can vote on how much you will pay for your room and what you can do during your stay, or do you choose to stay where the owner sets the rates and conditions and you either agree or go elsewhere?

If you wouldn't accept democracy for a hotel stay on vacation, why do you accept it every day in the country where you live? Why should countries be run less competently than hotels?

Saturday, 21 April 2007

I am woman, hear me whine

"IT managers fear growing technical gender gap"

one example of what some attendees said could become a major problem for organizations – the alarming number of women who are currently abandoning IT jobs like storage administration that require workers to be on-call at virtually all hours.

I bet a lot of men aren't exactly thrilled at the prospect of being on call at all hours either, but plenty will do the jobs that these women refuse to do. So what's the problem?

“IT is very much a culture and it consumes a lot of time,” said Brunette. ”I think women in that regard are at a real disadvantage.” She noted that companies can fail to attract female workers, or see them leave key IT jobs because they fail “to provide day care at work, or work-at-home options for someone who leaves to have a child.”

Yes dear, that's why IT pays better than jobs which don't 'consume a lot of time'. The question is, so what? If women aren't willing to do the same job as men, why should companies want to 'attract' them to the jobs? Why should companies care about 'losing' these women from these jobs, if they're not actually willing to do the job they're hired to do?

Lisa Johnson, manager of systems at Irvine, Calif.-based media company Freedom Communications Inc., and an IT administrator for the past 15 years, said that she believes women in IT can provide a crucial balance within groups. “Men are usually fascinated by technology, where women take it as a tool to enhance what they’re doing,” Johnson said. “Women are definitely more communicative.”

Now, let's see. If you're an IT company and you want to hire someone to keep your servers running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which would you prefer? Someone who's 'fascinated by technology', or someone who 'takes it as a tool to enhance what they're doing' and refuses to be on call outside office hours?

I think the answer is obvious, don't you? This is precisely the reason why there is a 'gender gap' in IT, because men are far more interested in the technology than women. So why should we care that there are less women working in IT than men? What 'crucial balance' are they supposed to be providing?

How can women complain that they're not treated equally, and then complain when they are treated equally? It's no wonder American IT companies are outsourcing so much work to countries where the field hasn't been infested with women who expect to be paid the same as men for doing less work. I'm sure there are plenty of men in India willing to keep servers running 24/7 for a fraction of the amount that American women demand for doing a lesser job.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Foolish War in Iraq

Martin van Creveld, one of the most respected contemporary military historians, has called the invasion of Iraq "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them." For those who aren't military scholars, he was referring to a Roman expedition into Germany which was ambushed by 'barbarians' and essentially wiped out. Fighting continued for a few years afterwards, but the barbarians beat off the Roman 'superpower' and this was the end of Roman expansion east across Europe... a few centuries later, those barbarians were in charge of Rome.

In the next couple of years something similar will happen to America as its troops are withdrawn from Iraq, the 'World's Last Superpower' defeated by 'barbarians' with AK-47s, RPGs and cell phones. This is inevitable for a very simple reason; the occupation of Iraq is a vanity war for Americans, but a matter of life and death for Iraqis. America gains nothing from the continual occupation, Americans are already tired of it and Bush will be lucky to hold off the withdrawal until after the next election so he can blame his successor.

There was never any serious American interest in Iraq, which is precisely why the US government had to lie to justify the invasion. There were no nuclear weapons ready to be used at short notice, and there was no al Qaeda presence worth noting. Sure, Saddam Hussein was a thug, but only a thug could hold Iraq together, and he was no worse than many leaders America supports (just as it previously supported him). Yes, maybe he provided some money to terrorist groups, but most of the radical Islamic groups in the UK appear to be funded by Saudi Arabia, supposedly our ally.

When the Americans do pull out, with thousands of American troops dead and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, what will anyone have gained? The only real winners will be the American corporations who suck at the Pentagon's tax-funded teats, the Shi'ite leaders, who are largely backed by Iran, which is supposed to be our enemy, and the radical Islamic insurgents who will gain a huge amount of prestige by defeating a Superpower. Encouraged by that success, what will stop them from taking their battle to other nations in the region, which we currently rely on for oil?

Some have claimed that the war was fought to steal Iraq's oil, but we'd have saved a lot of money by just buying it. Others have claimed it was fought for Israel, but van Creveld is an Israeli and he's called for Bush to be impeached for invading Iraq. Others that it was intended to 'shock and awe' America's enemies into surrender, but it's merely proven that America's incredibly expensive military is a paper tiger that can't even defeat a third-rate opponent. Others believe that Bush deliberately wants to start WWIII in the Middle East to fulfil Biblical prophecies and bring about Armageddon.

Unfortunately, the reality is probably far worse; Bush is a cheerleader with nukes. Just as Rome in decline was run by lunatics and fourth-rate leaders who could never have managed to build up such an Empire, so is modern America. As the country goes into deep decline, Iraq will be the furthest that the American Empire spreads into the Middle East before the Empire itself falls apart.

Military historians of the future will probably have even less flattering opinions of the invasion of Iraq than van Creveld.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Marrying losers

Another unusual thing I've noticed among my thirty-something female friends is the number who've ended up marrying losers who can't hold down a job, take out big debts in their wife's name, father a kid or two and then get divorced; the male equivalent of the female gold-digger. The 'successful' women haven't sunk that low, but several of the normal women in normal jobs have.

I can only presume that this is a further consequence of the destruction of marriage. 'Good men' who make a decent living and won't rip off their wives can no longer afford to get married because divorce has become enslavement, whereas male losers will benefit from having their wife buy them a new car and a big TV and pay to raise their kids... with no morals and little income, the fathers aren't going to be paying. These women are so desperate for kids that they'll settle for any man who can get them pregnant, even if it means huge long-term financial costs.

It's sad really, but just another way in which feminism has hurt women far more than men.