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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Mon June 29/42
12th trip

Took off from Base with own crew and air craft at 2346
Bomb load of two ton
target Bremen. Reached objective O.K. made two runs over target and dropped load flak was heavy as usual No trouble on return. Night was fairly good 10/10 clouds over target and full moon.
All returned O.K.
Landed at Base at 0420 hrs
Coming out from Bremen We crossed the Friesien Isle. off the Dutch coast.

Al Gore: sex-crazed poodle tries to release his chakra

Byron York at the Washington Examiner goes into the excruciating details contained in the police report of Al Gore's alleged sexual assault of a massage therapist in Portland in 2006. Here are my favourite parts:
The masseuse asked Gore what he wanted. "He grabbed my right hand, shoved it down under the sheet to his pubic hair area, my fingers brushing against his penis," she recalled, "and said to me, 'There!' in a very sharp, loud, angry-sounding tone." When she pulled back, Gore "angrily raged" and "bellowed" at her.
Then, abruptly, the former vice president changed tone. It was "as though he had very suddenly switched personalities," she recalled, "and began in a pleading tone, pleading for release of his second chakra there."
Please release my second chakra - I'll have to remember that line. Then there's this:
"He pleaded, grabbed me, engulfed me in embrace, tongue kissed me, massaged me, groped by breasts and painfully squeezed my nipples through my clothing, pressed his pelvis against mine, rubbed my buttocks with his hands and fingers and rubbed himself against my crotch, saying, 'You know you want to do it.'"
Finally she got away. Later, she talked to friends, liberals like herself, who advised against telling police. One asked her "to just suck it up; otherwise, the world's going to be destroyed from global warming."
OK - let me get this straight. Her liberal friends wanted her to "release Gore's chakra" to prevent global warming. Now THAT'S depraved.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Sat June 27/42
11th Trip.

Took off from Base at 2340 hrs. With own crew and aircraft.
Target Bremen again.
Visibility 10/10 clouds and full moon. Went in at 20500 ft. Bombed by T.R.
A few fires and flak was heavy never encountered any enemy air craft. One of our own was weaving back and forth on coming out with his down ward light on. Landed at Base at approx. 0430 hrs. Every thing O.K. All returned safe except O Oranges which had to crash land. No one hurt though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Nerd Camp Diaries

Part five of the diary of my week at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. (See the rest here.)

Day 6: Saturday

Today is the last day of Nerd Camp at the Perimeter Institute - only a half day, then we take the souvenir coffee mug & the T shirt & say our fond farewells. Although it was an amazing experience, I think I've had enough of these people - I want to be alone for awhile and be back home sleeping in my familiar bed. This morning one guy in our group, Brent, was wearing a black T shirt with a Periodic Table of the Elements on it - he told us it was his "dark matter T shirt". HA ha. Annoying Katie explained to everyone that she was drinking her Fair Trade coffee out of a juice glass because she didn't want to use disposable cups. As a result, I now use a fresh disposable cup at every break and ostentatiously throw it out. I also use paper towels in the washroom instead of the air dryer.

First a summary of yesterday's activities. In the morning, Dr. Boy Wonder told us to "break into groups and teach each other a lesson on Dark Matter". Groan. I hate this stuff - can't we just learn about things without having to constantly interact with everyone? Dr. Wonder, during his introduction about Dark Matter & Dark Energy, said "there is Dark Energy in this room". No kidding - it's sitting over there with a nametag that says "Hi my name is ERIC". Dr. Wonder looked a little rough - he has massive bed-head & he hasn't shaved. Also, he wasn't wearing his watch - he must have left it on someone's nightstand. Since the facilitators always wear these distinctive red golf shirts, it's hard to tell if he has changed clothes since yesterday. Dr. Wonder's executive assistant Diane came in to talk to us about submitting expense claim forms - she is a super-sexy woman who favours high heels and tailored skirts. She must set the cooling fins glowing cherry-red on all the giant brains in this building every time she walks down the hall.

We got into a discussion about teaching the concept of Dark Matter to high-school students. Facilitator Doug told us that we have to be "agents for physics", and that "physics isn't about finding the answers, it's about asking the questions". Oh shut up. Facilitator Don also looked a little rough this morning - he was probably at some S&M club last night hanging from a bungee cord naked while watching the Zapruder film. During the discussion, Josh the Resident Expert said "I'm not aware of any pedagogical research that supports this. As educators, we're engaged in action research that always aims at best practices". One more day ... try to keep it together for one more day. Dr. Wonder pulled out his Blackberry while Josh was babbling and checked his messages while muttering "Yeah, OK, uh huh" occasionally to feign interest.


The keynote speaker was Dr. Cliff Burgess, an expert on Dark Matter from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Astonishingly, he is relatively old - in his mid-forties. He was also wearing a watch (analog). The topic of his presentation was "What is the universe made of - the case for Dark Matter & Dark Energy". Two thumbs up - best lecture of the week. He had a very sarcastic delivery that was right up my alley. Some quotations: "The guy who figures this out is the guy they'll be celebrating 100 yrs from now for showing that Einstein was full of shit", and "This model is so easy to explain, every graduate student comes up with it independently every Monday", and "No other model passes the ego test - if you ask the person who came up with it 'are you responsible for this theory?' they say 'yes' ", and "I have a theory about Dark Energy & so do 15 others, but they're all full of shit".

Friday’s lunch at the Black Hole Bistro was outstanding as usual: tomato & roasted red pepper soup; crepes with mushroom duxelles, ricotta cheese & cream sauce; Cobb salad; grilled halibut with roasted vegetable & pine-nut pesto; zucchini risotto. I'm going to have to take a little nap this afternoon I think.

In the afternoon, we had a session called "Answering the toughest student questions about modern physics". We had submitted written questions earlier & two grad students sifted through them & tried to explain the answers to us. The first session was by Jackie, one of Dr. Wonder's grad students. She was pretty good - gave a nice concise explanation of quantum superposition (although I can't imagine a high-school student asking a question like that). She was followed by Jason. When Jason walked into the room, there were audible sighs from the middle-aged women in the group (and a few of the men). He's 25, looks like Colin Farrell, dresses in black and his eyes are actual limpid pools. He doesn't wear a watch, but does wear one of those hemp and shell necklaces nestled in his chest hair. He talked about time travel - "Oh, like light is travelling slower than c, like, in water, or whatever", and "you have, like, an electron here, and, like, a muon over here, or whatever". Barbara the middle-aged former-engineer got all giggly and flirty, and spent the Fair Trade Coffee Break, along with about half a dozen other women old enough to be his mother, hanging around watching him write equations on the blackboard, pecs & delts rippling under his torso-hugging shirt. I half-expected to hear one of them sigh "Oh, the way you handle that chalk - you must be exhausted".

I learned a new term that everyone here uses : "hand-wavey explanation", as in "I know that's just a sort of hand-wavey explanation of a very complex topic". I gather that that means you mumble and wave your hands around to conceal the fact that you don't know the answer to a question.

We had to do a quick survey on something or other and Facilitator Don asked us to answer by holding up our whiteboards. I thought to myself, "Self, why can't we just raise our actual hands?". When I did answer by just raising my hand, Facilitator Don said to me curtly "I told you to raise your whiteboard". Fuck you, Facilitator Don.

We cut the session short so that we could attend a wine & cheese party in the Bistro & mingle with the Institute's brainiacs. The room was spread with bottles of fine wine & trays of exotic cheeses from all over the world - wow. Sundance Bilson-Thompson arrived & immediately was surrounded by a crowd of middle-aged women. Who says nerds can’t get chicks? (Of course it helps that he looks a bit like Matthew McConaughey.) I was sitting at a table with Barbara & a few others when Jason the hot grad student came over and said "Do you mind if I, like, sit here?" Barbara just about fainted. She asked him why he went into physics - he said "It's like, I wanted to, like, find out how the universe worked, or whatever?" Barbara sighed, batted her eyelashes and said "Isn't he just like the student you always wanted to teach?" Jesus, Barbara - go take a cold shower.

The wine & cheese morphed into a barbecue on the stunning roof-top patio of the Institute. I figured it would be sausages on a bun or something, but no: Cornish game hens, grilled summer vegetables, corn on the cob & lemon mousse with chocolate truffles for desert. Once again, super-cheap microbrews were featured at the bar. The bartender said to me "Wow, you guys in this session sure drink a lot. Last week's group didn't drink at all - total nerds". I'm thinking "how can you NOT drink here - 8 hours of intense quantum physics & we're dismissed to a cool bar with cheap beer?" After the barbecue, we wandered into downtown Waterloo where we found a brew pub with an excellent patio called the Lion Brewery. We drank pitchers of beer until 1:00 am. Barbara got a little loaded and confessed "I think Facilitator Don is an asshole. " I bought Barbara a drink after that - it's like we now have a special bond or something.

Saturday morning, Dr. Boy Wonder gave a lecture on Black Holes. He's tidied himself up and has his watch back. He made us calculate the Schwartzchild radius of an electron and then answer the question "why don't all electrons immediately collapse and become tiny black holes?" Good question. The answer is, no one knows the answer. That's just a hand-wavey explanation, though.

Facilitator Doug wrapped up the session. He is SUPER KEEN!!!!! He LOVES HIS JOB!!!!! Everything is "KINDA COOL!!!!!", especially General Relativity, which gives him HEART PALPITATIONS!!!!! He says his students EAT IT UP!!!!! He wants to SHARE IT WITH EVERYBODY!!!!! It's FREAKY!!!!! Good God, get me out of here.

So, here it is Saturday afternoon. We got our mugs & shirts and a certificate for the fridge that says we graduated from Nerd Camp. One last lunch & I'm on the road (just sandwiches this time - I guess they're trying to slowly re-introduce us to the food of the outside world). It was KINDA COOL, I must say. Certainly the most interesting educational activity I've ever been involved in.

I'm especially going to miss the food.

Penn Gillette on Muslims, Christians & Scientologists

Penn Gillette (half of the duo Penn & Teller) is interviewed about his TV show Bullshit!
Are there any groups you won't go after? We haven't tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn't want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists—I'm not sure. And we haven't tackled Islam because we have families.

Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back ... Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific. [...]

You do go after Christians, though ... Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.
(from Reason Hit & Run)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Al Gore's emission problem

This is the funniest thing I've seen in weeks - a Taiwanese TV news animation of Al Gore's alleged "sex-crazed poodle" attack on a Portland massage therapist:



(HT: National Review Online)

The Nerd Camp Diaries

Part four of the diary of my week at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. (See the rest here.)

Day 4: Thursday

People were a little hung over this morning (I was in remarkably good shape considering my age and general decrepitude, but I'm very tired because of the 4.5 hours of sleep I got last night). That didn't stop a heated discussion about Higgs bosons from breaking out over breakfast - for God's sake, don't you guys ever turn it off? YOU people are bosons.

We had homework last night - we were supposed to read an article about dark matter. I forgot, of course, so I had to read it quickly over coffee. While we were waiting for Dr. Boy Wonder, Facilitator Don showed a video of the Zapruder film of JFK's assassination on the lecture theatre's smart board & explained how he used the frames of Kennedy's exploding head to illustrate the Law of Conservation of Momentum. Jesus. Is it any wonder that a lot of these guys aren't married? Dr. Boy Wonder arrived and reminded us not to take pictures of the researchers in the building - they hate being treated like zoo animals.

The morning started with a talk from Facilitator Doug, whom I'm starting to find a little irritating (big surprise). He's a super-keen evangelist-type who is on a mission for physics. He says that everything is "neat". He always talks animatedly while gesturing with his hands like a charismatic preacher, and ends every sentence with this shy little Princess Diana smile that seems to say "gosh, gee, I just can't help getting so excited about physics. I would do this job for free." Facilitator Doug led us through an activity about centripetal force (of course we actually had to do the activity instead of just having it explained to us) but it was kind of "neat" because it led to a tie-in about the discovery of dark matter in the Triangulum galaxy. OK - that part was cool. Facilitator Doug said "All the luminous matter in the universe is literally just the tip of the iceberg". Well, not literally, Doug: there isn't a literal giant iceberg in the middle of the universe.

After the Fair Trade Coffee Break, Facilitator Don showed us another video on the smart board about some idiots in Florida who bungee-jumped off the Tampa Bay Bridge, five adults on one cord, swinging off the bridge like a pendulum. Of course the chief idiot had calculated that the cord was strong enough to hold their weight, but hadn't considered the centripetal force created by the swinging action, so the cord naturally snapped and they plunged head-first into the bay. Two of them were horribly injured, and it was all videotaped. I think Facilitator Don has some issues with violence. However, I suppose it was a good lesson on the dangers of letting unlicenced lay people use physics unsupervised.

Next, Dr. Boy Wonder showed us an advance copy of a video for high school students that the Institute is working on about dark matter. We were a test audience & were supposed to give feedback. It's a good video, but there are parts in it that are just painfully uncool, which is the inevitable result when brainiacs at the Institute for Theoretical Physics try to make a video "cool". The opening scene features this sexy Asian woman on a motorcycle roaring up to a telescope observatory. She dismounts and takes off her helmet, shakes out her long black hair, unzips her leather jacket, strides into the observatory and ... turns on her computer. That's all she does - turn on her computer. I suppose that is some quantum physicist sex fantasy, but I think your average teenager is going to wonder why Dr. Hottie McAstrophysicist isn't getting it on with her studly grad student right there under the big phallic telescope. The film is narrated by Dr. Boy Wonder himself - he has a thick Australian accent and in the film looks like a young Preston Manning. He pops up at various points like Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone & explains some abstruse concept (fairly clearly, actually). At one point he is talking about measuring the distance to far-away stars by their brightness, and then he self-consciously puts on sunglasses. Groan. We had to fill out a questionnaire after the film & comment about the narrator - I wrote that he needed a better shirt.

We then had a lecture about dark matter. One theory postulates that the invisible matter in the universe is made up of a new kind of particle called a Weakly-Interacting Massive Particle, or ... wait for it ... WIMP. This of course leads to all kinds of unintentional hilarity. I read sentences with the word WIMP in them & automatically think of the stereotype of the theoretical physicist - sentences like "occasionally a WIMP will collide with the nucleus of an atom, causing a slight vibration" or "experiments looking for WIMPs are taking place all over the world". HA ha.

We broke early this afternoon & took a bus up to St. Jacob's, a supposedly quaint Mennonite community with "shoppes". Sorry to offend anyone who loves St. Jacob's, but I didn't think much of it - it was mostly mass-produced "crafts" and ice-cream parlours. I bought a book about the Battle of Teutoberger Wald (AD 9) & read it under a tree while everyone else bought souvenirs for the wife.

Dinner tonight was at the Laurier University cafeteria - jeez, how can they do this to us after three days of gourmet cooking? I'm going to get the shakes if I don't get me some pistachio-crusted sea bass with passionfruit coulis right freakin' now. Lasagna? You're feeding us freakin' LASAGNA??? With ICEBERG LETTUCE?????

No boozing tonight - have to rest up for the wine & cheese party at the Institute tomorrow where all the brainiacs are going to mingle with the humans. That should be interesting.

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Thur June 25/42
10th trip

Took off from Base at 2339 hrs with own crew and aircraft.
Target Bremen which is in Northern Germany.
This was another of those 1000 aircraft raid going in we saw many of our own aircraft. Dropped our own load of incendaries by T.R. as visibility was very poor with 10/10 clouds from Eng coast to target Full moon. Landed at Base at 0505 hrs Every thing O.K.
Heavy flak over target
All from here returned safely one of our boys got a 1.10 M.E.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Nerd Camp Diaries

Part three of the diary of my week at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. (See the rest here.)

Day 3: Wednesday

We went out on a pub crawl last night in Waterloo. I got in at 2:00 am, so concentrating on quantum mechanics today is going to be a bit tricky. Apparently there was a noise complaint in the dorm two nights ago - too much talking in the lounge. I wasn't there, but someone here has a pickle up their ass. At breakfast, annoying Katie was wearing a t shirt that says "Schrodinger's cat is dead." (That's a lame quantum theory joke.) HA ha.

This morning's lecture from Dr. Boy Wonder was on Randomness & Quantum Mechanics. His lecture was a good example of randomness - he jumped from topic to topic, consulted his notes frequently (again written on a napkin), hemmed & hawed, etc. Our first whiteboard task was to calculate the wavelength of an electron based on a 2-slit interference pattern. Whoa there, buddy - I'm on vacation. I faked it & didn't hold up my whiteboard. No one noticed. Then we had a multiple-choice quiz (done on whiteboards, naturally). There was much discussion about the philosophy & pedagogy of the multiple-choice question - even the Caribbean spy spoke up for the first time and said "Do you really mean never, or just really really unlikely?"(I guess that’s a quantum approach to multiple-choice questions.) Josh the Resident Expert said " 'None of the above' is a biased distractor. I never use that option. I always use deeper and richer questions." Good for you, asshole. Roberto the Brazilian ear-hair guy fell asleep during Dr. Boy Wonder's lecture and snored very loudly. This prompted much suppressed giggling, a startled look on Dr. Wonder's face and a stern look from the facilitators.

After Fair Trade Coffee Break, the keynote speaker was Dr. Sundance Bilson-Thompson (no, I'm not making that up). He's a string theory expert from Australia who looks like a surfer - cargo shorts, flip-flops, long blond hair in a pony-tail, Oakley sunglasses on top of his head. He is much older than the other researchers here - I'm guessing 25. His lecture was on Looped Quantum Gravity and the Standard Model. His PowerPoint presentation was full of complex math involving four-dimensional matrices - one guy put up his hand and asked why time is represented by -1 in one of the matrices. Buddy, if you have to ask that question, you don't understand the math anyway, so shut the hell up. Dr. Sundance represented his model of the universe by a diagram with lots of squiggly lines that meet up at nodes that represent points in 4-D space-time. This prompted all kinds of idiotic questions from the audience, my favourite being "What's the significance of the lines that don't meet up with anything?". Sundance answered deadpan - "That's the edge of the page". His model involves particles called helons & rishons which are basically multi-dimensional strings that are twisted together in “braids”. Whatever. Five minutes before lunch time when everyone's getting a little antsy to see what gourmet treats the kitchen staff has cooked up for us, Josh the Resident Expert asked "Can you explain how the Higgs boson fits into the Standard Model?". Fifteen minutes later ... I'm developing an intense dislike for Josh.

Lunch was excellent as usual: fried chicken with couscous, vegetable soup & caesar salad with shaved parmesan cheese.

There seems to be a cult of Einstein here - everyone talks about him in hushed tones, or tries to work anecdotes about him into their speech. One of the facilitators told us that "researchers think" that Einstein had Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism). Oh for crying out loud. Also, I've noticed a correlation between age and wrist-watch wearing. No one here under 30 wears a watch - they all pull out their Blackberries to check the time. Some noticeable exceptions - Dr. Boy Wonder wears an expensive-looking watch, probably a gift from his parents when he completed his PhD dissertation. Sundance also wears a watch, but it's digital. He must be rebelling against the physics establishment, or making some kind of retro statement.

After lunch we did some "think-pair-share", which is a favourite technique among educators, especially those who went to Queen's. You think about something, pair up with someone else, talk about it & share it with the "large group". I'm not too thrilled about pairing & sharing right now - can't we just get on with it? Then we played a "quantum cryptography game" where we broke up into groups of four - each person representing Alice, Bob, Eve and a photon. The point is for Alice to send an encrypted message to Bob via quantum-entangled photons & to try to find out if Eve has "eavesdropped" (Eve - eavesdrop - get it?) on the message. Eve got busted in our group - I was the entangled photon. One woman in our group I think is a lesbian - she has really short hair, wears workboots & an old Pink Floyd concert t-shirt and no makeup. I know that's a stereotype, but I'm just saying. She was Bob.

One of our facilitators, Don, who is a high school teacher, gave us some advice about shopping in downtown Waterloo. He said there was a store there that sold fair-trade stuff from benighted third-world countries and that we could get the same fair-trade coffee they serve at the Institute there. Then he told us that there was a Starbucks next door where "you can get unfair-trade coffee". I'm going to Starbucks.

Dinner was at the Black Hole Bistro, where it was "Pub Night" for the brainiacs. They were serving hamburgers & chicken wings & cheap microbrews ($2.50/bottle). The bar was open until 10:00, so five of us closed the place (including Barbara, a former engineer, who can really drink). We got a little rowdy & left all kinds of "hilarious" physics-related graffitti in chalk on the big blackboard that makes up one wall of the bistro - stuff like changing the menu from "hamburgers" to "Heisenbergers". HA ha.

After closing out the bistro, we went downtown & bar-hopped, finally ending up in a tavern where we drank pitchers of beer until 2:00 am. Much hilarity ensued. A few people were starting to look a little green around the gills towards the end of the evening. Josh the Resident Expert was putting the moves on Barbara. Not sure how that ultimately turned out.

So, that's what happens when you give eight hours of lectures on quantum physics & then provide cheap beer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Nerd Camp Diaries

Part two of the diary of my week at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. (See the rest here.)

Day 2: Tuesday

It's the end of day 2 of Nerd Camp at the Perimeter Institute. They took us out for dinner at East Side Mario's in Waterloo tonight & then we went out for beers afterwards - consequently I'm a little loaded.

Breakfast was at the residence as usual, followed by a ten minute walk to the Institute. I was forced to walk with this other guy from Toronto who informed me that he plans to raise alpacas when he retires, but he's starting to think that's not such a good idea, since no one will need to wear alpaca-wool sweaters in a few years because of global warming. WTF. How do I get stuck with these idiots?

Over fair-trade coffee at the Institute, I was forced to listen to Katie, who said "I, like, can't believe that they're, like, using disposable cups? Like, with the disposable plates & cutlery at breakfast, you know, like the impact on the environment is, like, you know, humungous? I think I'll, like, buy a re-useable mug?" Katie, by the way, flew in from Vancouver for this workshop, presumably on a jet that burned fossil fuels. She was also complaining yesterday that the air conditioning in her room wasn't working.

There is a woman here from the Caribbean who doesn't talk to anyone and who always wears a raincoat (even indoors) with the hood up. I think she's a spy.

This morning we had a lecture on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle by Dr. Boy Wonder. I think Dr. Wonder was out drinking last night, because his lecture notes were written on the back of a napkin and his presentation was very disjointed. He needs a PowerPoint presentation, big time. We sat through all kinds of boring stuff about angular momentum & non-locality, and then at the end he spent five minutes discussing quantum theory & the nature of free will & then dismissed us for lunch. Wait a minute! This is the good stuff - you can't stop there!!! Free will vs determinism in 5 minutes???

We spend a lot of time here breaking into groups, which I hate. Just tell us the stuff & spare us the brainstorming. We use these 10"x 14" white boards with dry erase markers, and every time we break into groups we have to write stuff on the white boards and hold them up to the rest of the group. The "facilitators" say stuff like "let's whiteboard this". Today we got a little lecture about proper use of whiteboards - "We want you to learn good whiteboard habits". This apparently means using lots of colours and not too many words. I'm in a group with a cranky guy from Buffalo about my age who said today "I hate this whiteboard shit". I love you, man.

Later in the morning we had a keynote speaker (age 16, looks like) who is the world expert on quantum cryptography. He looks like Fred Savage from that old TV show The Wonder Years. He got his PhD at CalTech and did post-doctoral work at Los Alamos. I barely understood what he was talking about - here's a sample: "In quantum teleportation, Alice and Bob first create an EPR pair, & each takes one of the two qubits. Then Alice asks if the qubit she wishes to teleport is the same or different from her half of the EPR pair for both X and Z (ie she does the X and Z parity measurements)". (I wrote this down from his PowerPoint presentation.) This didn't stop Josh the Resident Expert from asking idiotic questions, like "Has anyone thought about building a quantum computer from anti-matter?" Shut the hell up, asshole. I wanted to ask Dr. Quantum Cryptography - "Did you get beat up a lot in high school?" but thought better of it.

I've met a couple of really smart women in the group today, both of them former engineers (female engineers being somewhat of a rarity). Speaking of engineers, there was a big discussion about iron rings over coffee this morning. Engineers in Canada wear an iron ring after they graduate that is supposedly made of steel from a catastrophic bridge collapse in Quebec City in 1907. I've heard this story so often, I want to throw up when I hear about the sacred engineering trust. One guy, Jeremy, said "I should be wearing an iron ring (he's an engineer) but I don't wear jewellery". I wanted to ask him why - so people wouldn't think he was gay? Jeez, buddy - relax. Nobody's going to mistake you for gay - you're wearing track pants.

There's another annoying guy from Toronto who is like a Liberal poster boy. Today when someone was describing the 2-point source interference pattern as being like the shadows cast by a light shining through prison bars, he said "Americans would understand that analogy". (There are five Americans in our group - welcome to Canada.) When Dr. Quantum Cryptography said "A quantum computer is 20-30 years away - I say this because by then you'll have forgotten I made this prediction", buddy said "Kind of like the Conservative government's election promises". Sigh.

However, lunch was again excellent: carrot & ginger soup, pepper-crusted pork tenderloin, foccaccia pizza, green beans with almonds. At lunch, dipstick Katie said "So, I think, like, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is, like, totally mind-blowing? Like, when I was in Catholic school? I totally trusted the universe, you know? Now, like, you know, you can't believe like your own senses?" Lunch was so good that I was successful in stifling the urge to beat her with a baguette.

After lunch, we were bused to the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. We met the top brainiacs in this field who have come to Waterloo from all over the world. I expected to see these giant throbbing brains walking around on spindly bodies, but they're just like regular humans. We had a great lecture by a guy from Germany who is one of the top experts in this area, but he still couldn't figure out how to pull down the projector screen. He gave what he called a "mono-media presentation" - a 30 minute summary of quantum mechanics & the "Einstein-Podolski-Rosen Paradox" in a cool German accent. Imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger lecturing on quantum theory - it was very weird. Then we were taken to see Waterloo's quantum computer - the world's most powerful at 12 bits of information. It looks like a water heater. The French guy who built it told us "there are 37 liters of liquid helium at 5 degrees Kelvin in there. If it fails, it will all suddenly become a gas and explode outwards, trapping you in this room. You will talk like Mickey Mouse for a few seconds, then die an agonizing death having sacrificed your lives for science. Fortunately this only happens every three or four years somewhere in the world." This got a pregnant woman in our group a little agitated.

After working up an appetite with some more hard-core quantum cryptography, it was off to dinner. Tonight some of us are going on a pub crawl in downtown Waterloo - I think I may be a little old for this kind of punishment, but I'll give it my best shot.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Nerd Camp Diaries

Stephen Hawking was welcomed on Sunday to the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario where he is about to commence a year-long research position. This is a major coup for the institute, which now positions itself as one of the great physics research institutions in the world.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend a week-long series of seminars at the Perimeter Institute called Einstein Plus. It was designed to introduce educators from around the world to cutting-edge research in modern physics. For a week I lived at the Perimeter Institute and met some of the most brilliant scientists in the world. All my friends laughed at me when I told them what I was going to do on my summer vacation - they called it "Nerd Camp" - but it was a truly amazing experience. I still look back on it with awe years later. While I was there I kept a diary, so in honour of Dr. Hawking's arrival in Canada, I present - "the Nerd Camp Diaries". I was there for six days, so I'll publish this in several installments. Names have been changed to spare anyone involved undue embarrassment.

Day 1: Monday

OK - this is officially the coolest professional thing I have ever done. You wouldn't believe this place (the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo) - it's like physics nerd nirvana. The building is ultra-cool - all glass, slate & stainless steel, with glass offices where guys with giant brains are doing calculus on blackboards. Even the lounges and hallways have big blackboards in them covered with incomprehensible (to me) math equations. I'm in the library now, which looks like some kind of cross between a gentleman's club and an ultra-hip restaurant. Just the titles of the books on the shelves make my head hurt.

The whole program is being run by the "outreach director" of the institute, who has a PhD in theoretical physics. He looks like he's 18 years old - I would card him in a bar. I call him "Dr. Boy Wonder". He's from Australia & periodically uses weird pronunciations like "quaacks" (quarks).

I would like to run the laptop computer concession here - it's laptop-palooza. I think I'm the only one without one - the biggest crisis of the morning was arranging wireless access for everyone.

The food here is amazing. We had a buffet breakfast this morning at the residence (we are staying in one of Laurier University's student residences) which was OK, but lunch at the institute was outstanding. There is a gourmet restaurant on the top floor that looks like it wouldn't be out of place in Manhattan. Lunch consisted of poached salmon with risotto, cream of leek soup & mixed greens, all washed down with excellent (fair-trade, of course) coffee. There are muffins everywhere. Copies of major newspapers are scattered all over the lounges, including the National Post. Dinner tonight was a three-course meal served on fine china with wine. The menu: "salad of frisee and organic seedlings with avocado and citrus segments, roasted strip-loin of beef with truffle mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and roasted baby portobello mushrooms, and hazelnut panna cotta with frangelico zabaglione and fresh berries". Excellent coffee, again. The nerds at my table tried to create a wave interference pattern in the panna cotta with two knives.

In spite of their colossal super-human brains, many of the PhDs who are talking to us can't figure out how to use the simplest technology, and much fuss is spent at the beginning of every lecture figuring out how to hook up the laptops to the LCD projectors. One guy didn't have his handouts because he couldn't figure out how to use the photocopier. We have our lectures in two high tech lecture theatres called the Alice Room and the Bob Room (that's an inside physics joke - Alice & Bob are always used to designate points A and B, as in "Alice fired a paper airplane at 3.5 m/s at Bob who was 15 m away...) The restaurant is called the Black Hole Bistro - it is ultra-chic, with frosted glass & teak everywhere, a grand piano & a bar that looks like a place where Cameron Diaz would be swilling martinis. The money that is being spent to keep these geniuses happy must be phenomenal - but if you want to lure them here from Princeton, I guess that's what it takes.

Today's activities consisted of a hands-on lab where we calculated Planck's Constant using 9 volt batteries and LEDs, followed by various activities on wave/particle duality and a discussion of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. Thank goodness I brought a calculator. We also calculated the deBroglie wavelength of a human body (infinitesimally small) and the odds that a human body could use its wave properties to pass through a wall (about a 1 in 1050 chance). By the way, I bet you didn't know that the world size record for a particle exhibiting wave-like properties is fluorinated fullerene ( C60F48 ), and that scientists in Vienna are trying to observe wave behaviour by viruses. Who knew?

Many of the people in the group seem a little bewildered. We had an ice-breaker last night where we had to choose physics-themed team names - I suggested "the Leptons" (a lepton is a type of sub-atomic particle). The woman with the chart paper wrote "kleptons" (groan), so for the rest of the evening our team was known as The Kleptons, which made absolutely no sense & just made people look at us funny. She had also never heard of Carl Sagan (his name was the answer to a quiz question - "who wrote the novel Contact?") - I had to spell his name for her. Carl Sagan - probably the most recognizable name in popular cosmology! Sigh.

There are also numerous annoying personalities among the group. One guy in particular (Josh) I have developed an intense dislike for. He's from the Maritimes, and is constantly prolonging the lectures by asking stupid questions designed to showcase his own brilliance, and is always favouring us with anecdotes that start with phrases like "Research out of Russia, I think it is....", "Several studies like McDermot at U. of Washington have shown that ...", "What about the research from Randall White?", "This has always been my criticism of computer simulations" and my favourite - "I did a mini-thesis on this exact topic ..." Also, there's a guy here from Brazil (Roberto) who has the most amazing ear hair - it sticks out from his ears a full 2 inches. He looks like a capuchin monkey.

Tomorrow we're diving into quantum mechanics, which is not exactly my area of expertise, so I'm a little nervous. I'm going to do a little light reading tonight to bone up on the subject.

You bet it was ...

A Freudian slip from Liberal blogger Scott Ross, who was commenting on Michael Ignatieff's advice to Liberal supporters ""If you're not going to say anything to help us win, shut up!" and offered this unintentionally amusing statement:
Following Ignatieff's statement the awkwardness was palatable ...
Palatable - can't argue with that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dating liberals: field notes

I'm generally kind of an introverted type and enjoy the quiet of my rural home, but once in a while I'm persuaded to go out on a blind date just to forestall becoming a complete hermit. Each time I do this I wonder what the hell I was thinking and retreat to my fortess of solitude to lick my wounds. This weekend I poked my head out of my cocoon and headed off to Toronto for a date with Scott (although I'm 100% sure that he'll never read this blog, I've given him a pseudonym). Here are my field notes on the experience.

For those of my straight readers who need a little background, being a conservative is a definite handicap for gay men in the dating scene. We are an extremely small subset of the gay "community" and are spread around the country very thinly, so it's practically impossible to meet other fellow-travellers. As a result, I automatically assume that anyone I date is a liberal, so I generally try to steer the conversation away from politics towards neutral subjects until I get to know someone fairly well. However, the people I date assume that EVERY gay man they meet is a liberal (or an outright socialist) just like they are so those conversational conventions are rarely observed by the men I meet socially. This can be extremely annoying.

Case in point: Scott. He works in the "main-stream media" and lives in Cabbagetown. He's highly educated and well-travelled, and we seemed to share many of the same interests. I arranged to meet him at a restaurant in the east end and took the TTC out there - that's when the nightmare began. My trip took me from Harbourfront to Gerrard and Coxwell - certainly not a long trip. What with waiting for backed-up street cars and seemingly non-existent buses, it took me an hour and a half to reach my destination. I could have walked there faster - on crutches. The Better Way my ass. If Adam Giambrone would stop screwing bimbos on his office sofa and actually, you know, manage the TTC I'd be more sympathetic to his grandiose multi-billion dollar "Transit City" light rail schemes, but if they're going to spread the same shitty service to previously untainted areas of the city, forget it - not one more dime.

I apologized to Scott for the delay and he promptly launched into a tirade about the G20 and "Stephen Harper's billion dollar ego-trip", assuming that security disruptions around my hotel must have been responsible (they weren't - the conference is a week away and I encountered no security intrusions whatsoever) and said "If Harper thinks he's going to buy votes in Toronto with this three-ring circus, he's out of his mind." I explained that slow TTC streetcar service was the reason, and he went off again about lack of federal funding for public transit in Toronto - "Toronto is the ONLY city of its size that gets NO funding from the federal government for transit. Thank you Stephen Harper." I was pretty sure that the feds had ponied up big bucks recently for that express purpose, but I kept quiet.

We ordered drinks and I tried to steer the conversation towards architecture - an area of mutual interest. I asked him what he thought was Toronto's ugliest building (a particular obsession of mine). He thought a few seconds and then responded that former Conservative premier Mike Harris had packed the Ontario Municipal Board with capitalist plutocrat property developers (no doubt all wearing top hats and monocles), and consequently so much hideous architecture had gone up in the city that it was difficult to narrow it down to just one building. Toronto needed to be more like Florence, Italy - lots of public spaces and severe restrictions on ownership of private property. At this point I decided that I had no interest in pursuing this relationship any further, so I responded: "You know, the beauty of Florence is largely the result of being ruled for centuries by thuggish Medici dictators who ran the city like Tony Soprano ran New Jersey - is that what Toronto really needs?" I added that Mike Harris hasn't been premier since 2002 and asked how long people in Toronto were going to blame him for all their problems. And as for Stephen Harper, if he was such an existential threat to the Canadian way of life, why didn't the great Michael Ignatieff grow a pair and bring down the government in a confidence vote on one of the many occasions in the past several years when he had the power to do so?

A shocked silence descended on the table as he realized he was breaking bread with a real live Conservative. "I take it you're a Conservative", he said. I admitted I was. Then he played the Gay Card: "How can you support a party that hates gays? You know, Harper is just a tool of the religious right - he's going to make gay marriage illegal." I asked him how he came to that conclusion since Harper held a free vote several years ago in the House on the subject of re-opening the gay marriage debate and the proposal was resoundingly defeated (with the help of many Conservative MPs) and that Harper himself now considers the matter closed. He: "Well, he stripped the Pride parade of funding this year." Me: "What does that have to do with gay marriage?" He: "It's just the beginning. Wait until he has a majority and rolls out the secret agenda. You know, he's already marginalized the remaining Progressive Conservatives in his caucus - look at Rona Ambrose, who lost her cabinet job for appearing at a Pride photo-op next to a drag queen." Me: "Actually, that was Diane Ablonczy, who was never a Progressive Conservative - in fact, she was a Reform MP under Preston Manning."

On and on it went. Capitalism and the free market are evil - they inevitably result in disasters like the Gulf oil spill and Bhopal. Dupont sold DDT to Indonesia after it was banned in North America just to make money. Capitalist greed gave us the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis which brought on the 2008 recession. Harper was going to make abortion illegal; after all he was refusing to finance abortions in the Third World. I countered that in a truly free market with a functioning independent judicial system, corporations are responsible for their actions and customers punish unethical or dangerous corporations by not buying their products and suing them for damage caused by negligence. I added that the sub-prime mortgage fiasco was largely the result of policies going back to the Clinton administration when the Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to lend to high-risk customers and backed these dubious investments with the authority of the government, thus reducing the risk and "moral hazard" associated with a truly free financial market. Indonesia was a free democracy; if they didn't want Dupont to sell DDT in their country, why didn't they ban it like we did, or did he assume that Indonesians were too stupid to figure this out for themselves? And as for abortion, what made him think that an initiative to improve maternal health automatically meant barging in to sovereign countries and killing their unborn babies? Furthermore, if aborting Third World babies was so important, let France pay for it - they would do it with so much more panache.

He then launched into a critique of our "so-called democracy" and complained that our first-past-the-post riding system meant that Canada's "progressive majority" was always thwarted by gun-toting bible-thumping rural redneck ridings. What we needed was "direct democracy". I pointed out that in Ontario, that would mean that the entire province would be run by a cabal of Toronto residents, just like the old Family Compact. "Fine with me" he retorted, "It's about time that Toronto declared independence and became a separate province anyway." "Fine with me", I replied, "Out in the country we're sick & tired of effete urban intellectuals telling us what's good for us."

At this point Scott was visibly angry. It was clear that he wasn't used to being challenged. He started larding the conversation with phrases like "well, I'm in the media business, and I worked on a story on [insert left-wing shibboleth here]" as if to imply that he had secret knowledge on the subject and I didn't know what I was talking about. Fortunately, at that point the bill came.

Then, I'm embarrassed to admit, my id made a quick mental calculation: was Scott good-looking enough to continue the evening over drinks? My ego intervened & I realized that I really couldn't stand another minute with this guy. I made excuses that I had to get back to my hotel & that I had an early morning ahead, and then miracle of miracles I was saved by the TTC. A streetcar stopped directly in front of the restaurant as we were leaving, so I bid him adieu and hopped on the Red Rocket and rode away to freedom. Adam Giambrone - I take back everything I said about you earlier.

So I'm home again drinking wine in the back yard. My blood pressure has returned to safe levels. I'm vowing never to do that again - until next time, anyway.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Judgment Day is coming

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is becoming a rock-star in Republican circles. He seems superficially to be an unlikely political celebrity - overweight, thick Jersey accent, sort of an anti-Obama. But just listen to him speak, like he did in this recent speech in Perth Amboy. I don't think I've ever heard a politician so ably articulate his agenda and so directly connect to his audience since the golden years of Churchill or FDR. In this address he talks extemporaneously without a teleprompter in sight and tells the people of his state that Judgment Day is coming, and they'd better roll up their sleeves and prepare for some serious blood, toil, tears and sweat; an amazing performance.



UPDATE: Influential American right-wing blog Powerline calls Christie "the most inspiring conservative leader in America today". Amen.

Monday, June 14, 2010

ABC News deploys prime beefcake to Gulf

Since Diane Sawyer took over the anchor desk of ABC World News from Charlie Gibson, there seems to be a lot of good-looking male correspondents filing stories. The Gulf oil spill is a case in point - apparently Ms Sawyer likes the crisis covered by dark & handsome men. ABC now has a platoon of rugged reporters keeping an eye on the slick; it's like a GQ photo shoot down there.

Reporting from Lousiana right from day one has been newcomer Matt Gutman, popping up wherever an oily pelican is to be found, biceps bulging and gym-toned pecs revealed under tight polo shirts:















Joining him at various times over the past month has been Good Morning America dude Chris Cuomo, feeling the pain of the suddenly unemployed shrimp fishermen. Chris also favours the tight polo shirt:




















The beaches of the Mississippi delta have also been graced this month by the presence of former Canadian Jeffrey Kofman. I couldn't find a picture of him in a tight polo shirt, but here he is in city garb:




















Fighting for mirror time in the ABC trailer this week is David Muir (who occasionally fills in for Sawyer on the anchor desk), and who hands down has the best hair of any man on TV. Muir prefers denim or chambray business-casual shirts and loves to leave an extra button undone:




















Sawyer sent in the heavy artillery tonight; joining President Obama on Alabama's oil-fouled coast was White House correspondent and ABC News alpha male Jake Tapper. Jake shed his usual suit & tie for the Gulf uniform of polo shirt & jeans; here he is looking sexy but authoritative at his usual gig at the White House:




















It seems clear that ABC is trying to attract a bigger share of the female & gay male evening news audience. Expect the "Men of ABC" calendar this December.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"The Republican Party is facing a purge ..."

Ralph Hallow of the Washington Times comments on last week's GOP primaries:
The bottom line on Tuesday's primaries: The Republican Party is facing a purge, and limited-government conservatives are in the ascendance.

After years of taking a back seat as neoconservatives - big-government interventionists - and religious conservatives conducted a tug of war for the GOP's heart, traditional conservatives and fiscally cautious "tea party" activists are shaking up the Republican establishment and also helping shape Democratic contests.

"A center-right coalition, which is not dominated by the religious right or neocons, seems to be emerging as a powerful force in American politics," Republican National Committee member Saul Anuzis of Michigan said. "It doesn't mean their issues aren't important, but they are not necessarily the driving issues as our economy, jobs and ever-growing debt and deficit scare taxpayers."

(HT: Independent Gay Forum)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Mon June 8/42
Ninth trip

Took off from base in own A/C with own crew
Target:- Essen again this target is surely taking a beating as this is the fourth time this Sqdn has raided it in a week It is one of Germany's largest gun manufacturing centres. The night was good 5/10 clouds no moon visibility clear over target as usual lots of oposition
We dropped our load of incendaries and got the hell out fast got caught in search lights but got away, came down south and out between Brussels & Cologne, crossed french coast between Dunkirk & Ostend received a little opposition of flak.
Saw a Ju 88 skimming along on top of clouds as we were doing the same he never saw us.
Landed at Base 0430 hrs
No damage to A/C

Monday, June 07, 2010

"Misguided compassion hurts the poor"

Theodore Dalrymple writes in City Journal:
To sympathize with those who are less fortunate is honorable and decent. A man able to commiserate only with himself would surely be neither admirable nor attractive. But every virtue can become deformed by excess, insincerity, or loose thinking into an opposing vice. Sympathy, when excessive, moves toward sentimental condescension and eventually disdain; when insincere, it becomes unctuously hypocritical; and when associated with loose thinking, it is a bad guide to policy and frequently has disastrous results. It is possible, of course, to combine all three errors.

No subject provokes the deformations of sympathy more than poverty. I recalled this recently when asked to speak on a panel about child poverty in Britain in the wake of the economic and financial crisis. I said that the crisis had not affected the problem of child poverty in any fundamental way. Britain remained what it had long been—one of the worst countries in the Western world in which to grow up. This was not the consequence of poverty in any raw economic sense; it resulted from the various kinds of squalor—moral, familial, psychological, social, educational, and cultural—that were particularly prevalent in the country.

Dalrymple continues with observations about poverty gleaned from years spent working as a doctor in the third world in places like the South Pacific and Tanzania, where he saw first hand the disastrous effects of socialist wealth redistribution schemes.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Sat June 6/42
Eighth trip.

Took off from Base with own crew and A/C at 2340 hrs
Bomb-load:- Incendaries
Target:- Emden on the Northern coast of Germany a shipping town centre.
Crossed by way of Dutch coast, arrived over target when my turret went completely U.S. got a fair reception. Not many search lights, saw a new type of firing power by Jerry. It consisted of red, blue, green bubble like lights which seemed to hang in the air.
Vis. good no cloud over target no moon Landed at base 0400 hrs

Saturday, June 05, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Fri June 5/42
Seventh Trip

Took off from Base in own A/C and crew at 2350 hrs Target Essen. This target is indeed very tough, worse than Cologne by far and hard to find We approached wrong way, got caught in a belt of search lights at 18000 ft, and came down to within 3000 ft of ground flak was as thick as a blizzard and all heavy.
Came away from target after dropping load of incendaries by way of south western route around Cologne. On the whole it was a very shakey do. No night fighters encountered Visibility had been very good no Cloud or moon Landed at base at 0530 hrs. discovered that our A/C had received fourteen hits by flak. No one was hurt. We lost one A/C on this raid F/SGT Dutton and my very good friend P/O Peters.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

If this is what modern womanhood means, then just veil me and sew up all my holes

Lindy West at The Stranger doesn't much like Sex & the City 2:
SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls. But I digress.

...

Samantha, being the prostitute sexual revolutionary that she is, rages against the machine by publicly grabbing the engorged penis of a man she dubs "Lawrence of My-Labia." When the locals complain (having repeatedly asked Samantha to cover her nipples and mons pubis in the way of local custom), Samantha removes most of her clothes in the middle of the spice bazaar, throws condoms in the faces of the angry and bewildered crowd, and screams, "I AM A WOMAN! I HAVE SEX!" Thus, traditional Middle Eastern sexual mores are upended and sexism is stoned to death in the town square.

At sexism's funeral (which takes place in a mysterious, incense-shrouded chamber of international sisterhood), the women of Abu Dhabi remove their black robes and veils to reveal—this is not a joke—the same hideous, disposable, criminally expensive shreds of cloth and feathers that hang from Carrie et al.'s emaciated goblin shoulders. Muslim women: Under those craaaaaaay-zy robes, they're just as vapid and obsessed with physical beauty and meaningless material concerns as us! Feminism! Fuck yeah!

If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Gays in the military = fascist takeover of America?

Scott Lively of the U.S. "Pro-Family Research Centre of Abiding Truth Ministries" has a vision of the future awaiting America if the federal government repeals its Don't Ask Don't Tell policy regarding gays serving openly in the military. The short version: it starts with "ogling in the showers" and ends with a violent fascist military coup. After all, it happened in ancient Sparta and Nazi Germany ... QED. Wow. I knew we were supposed to have an agenda, but I had no idea. Dr. Lively elaborates:
Masculine-oriented male homosexuality tends also to be pederastic in nature, meaning that it often involves relationships between adult men and teenage boys. The ancient Spartan army, for example, drafted young teen boys and paired them with adult homosexual soldiers. Brownshirt leaders in Germany recruited boys from the local high schools for sex. Roehm himself once briefly fled Germany for South America over a scandal involving a young male prostitute. This bodes ill for the young men who will be our future draftees.

The scenario I see unfolding if we allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military is an initial period of turmoil in which members of the services would attempt to show their opposition through the limited means available to them. This would result in a clamp-down by military authorities in an effort to force acceptance, accompanied by a sensitivity-training regimen. One or more incidents of violence against homosexuals, real or staged by the “gays” themselves, would ensure prioritization of the politically-correct policies, and justify pro-homosexual “affirmative action.”

Next would come a severe drop in enlistments and re-enlistments, triggering the reinstatement of the draft. This would in turn begin a degeneration of the moral and ethical culture of the services as those with the highest personal values would be most likely to leave, being replaced, in many cases, by men whose motivation is to share a male-dominated environment with others of similar sexual proclivities.

Whether or not a segregated service was initiated, a homosexual subculture of servicemen would form, characterized by intense internal loyalty and political ambition. Eventually, this “army within an army,” buoyed by pro-homosexual “affirmative action,” and the ability to act covertly (due to the fact that some would remain “closeted“) would come to dominate the services. What would they do with such power? The historical precedents are uniformly bad.
So THAT's how Stephen Harper's Conservative Brownshirts have stayed in power so long - it's all because of a cabal of violent homosexual pederasts in the Canadian Forces. Who knew?

(HT: Box Turtle Bulletin)

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Tues June 2/42
Sixth trip.

Took off from Base 2320 hrs. with our own crew and A/C also one extra passenger our 2nd dicky (pilot)
Target:- St Nazaire off the French coast. ran into a little opposition of flak and search lights just East of Cherbourg and also half way accross france
Dropped two mines into sea as ordered returned to base at 0530 hrs.
Visibility was good. No cloud, full Moon, which I didn't like?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

Mon June 1/42

Took off from base with own crew in own air craft at approx 2230 hrs.
Target Essen. Which we never reached? Due to engine trouble and the T/R 9 not in working order. We were only 15 mi off Dutch coast when we turned back dropping our load of incendiaries into sea. Landed at Base approx 2420 hrs. Learned on return from other A/C that visibility was very poor 10/10 clouds. So it was just as well we did turn back. All returned safely.