Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Puppies: A Story...

Sometimes, You Just Have To Go With Your Feelings

I found this little heart warming story about ten years ago, thought I'd share...with the world the way it is right now, we all need this ...


A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups, and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of little boy.

'Mister,' he said, 'I want to buy one of your puppies.'

'Well,' said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, 'These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.'

The boy dropped his head for a moment.  Then reaching deep into his pocket,
he pulled out a handful of change  and held it up to the farmer.

'I've got thirty-nine cents.  Is that enough to take a look?'  
'Sure,' said the farmer.  And with that he let out a whistle.  'Here, Dolly!' he called.  Out from the doghouse and down the ramp came Dolly, followed by four little balls of fur.

The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight.
As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller.  Down the ramp it slid.  Then, in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up....

'I want that one,' the little boy said, pointing to the runt.  The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, 'Son, you don't want that puppy.  He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.'

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.  In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.

Looking back up at the farmer, he said, 'You see sir, I don't run too well myself,  and he will need someone who understands.'

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.  Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.  

'How much?' asked the little boy. 'No charge,' answered the farmer, 'There's no charge for love.'

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Space Travel...Or, Where Do We Go From Here?

I just read an article about Elon Musks' ambitious dream of colonizing Mars. I expect many people wish him well in his quest. I know I do...but there is one point everyone seems to miss when discussing the endeavor:

1) The only type of propulsion system we have is a rocket...since the ancient Chinese invented gun powder, mankind has adapted highly volatile ingredients to provide the thrust to get from point A to point B. The drawback to using "fossil fuels" to explore even the neighboring planets, let alone actually gaining the title of Space Faring Race, is that fossil fuels are a one shot deal. Burn up your stock of fuel, it's gone.

Elon Musk has one solution to that problem, build a gas station on Mars. The idea is to send up a number of missions whose sole purpose is to create/build the infrastructure to drill or mine the raw materials, and process it into usable fuel for return trips. Sounds like a plan, right?

The only problem in going that route is that you actually bypass the original problem...with our current technology, you can only go to one place (Mars) and back again. You would not be able to go anywhere else, unless you started back at square one again, and built another gas station at your next intended destination...kinda redundant, ain't it.

If Elon Musk were to actually listen to me, I would suggest he spend all his time and financial resources on developing multi use propulsion systems first. There are a number of possible systems being tossed around, that don't depend on "one shot" fuels. Unfortunately, they are all in the theory stage, with only one that I read about having been experimented with. So, it could be a few more years, at least, before we can look up at the stars and do more than dream about exploring the galaxy, like the characters in Star Trek do...

But to make laudable yet vain attempts, based upon crude "pipe bombs", to travel to the stars is analogous to having your horse push the wagon instead of pulling it...very expensive and fancy pipe bombs at that.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ET Phone Home

Is there Intelligent Life Out There

Just as a pleasant diversion I thought I'd bring up a subject that has been debated for a very long time. Whatever your own beliefs, I would hope you find this brief discussion fun.

The first question should not be if there is intelligent life out there in space, but whether or not there is any life at all besides our own Earth. To answer that one we would have to do some basic math.

There are an estimated 400 billion stars in just our Milky Way Galaxy, so we'll call that our own neighborhood or back yard...ok? So arbitrarily speaking, if only a tiny fraction of 1 percent of all those stars have orbiting planets capable of sustaining life as we know it (organic life, carbon based), let's say one one hundredth of one percent, then the answer we want is...400,000,000,000 times .0001, or 40 million planets that "might" have some kind of life on them. Now by any one's estimate, that is one heck of alot of maybes...

Okay then, we have established that it is likely that life exists elsewhere. Now comes the next logical question...is there intelligent life out there? To answer that we need to stick to our statistical mathematics and use a more complex equation, right? Don't worry, a man named Frank Drake did the thinking for us. Back in 1961 he came up with an equation to determine the probability of intelligent aliens living out there in the galaxy. It was never proposed as an exact mathematical model, but more as a reason to actually start thinking about the possibilities. To this day there is a huge scientific debate on the real value of Drake's equation. I won't throw the actual equation at you, but the lowest of the  original estimated number of planets that could have intelligent life was 1000. Don't go jumping on me, that number is only a very crude statistical probability...and begs the obvious question...

How intelligent is intelligent? Of those 1000 potential homes for ET, how many of the aliens are advanced enough to even get off their own planet, let alone get all the way to ours...remember, we are pretty intelligent and advanced, but we still have a real hard time just exploring our own solar system.

Thanks for putting up with my blurb. Sometime in the future I'll post my own thoughts on UFO's and alien contact/invasions, heh heh.

The World is Crumbling

...and Trump is the Architect

Now why would I talk down about The Donald again so soon, you might ask. Well, obviously he is the top story on all the media. Not a single day goes by without another news story popping up, describing one more absurdly idiotic comment issuing forth from his orifice. You can't hide from it, no matter where you might try to distance yourself from his plague. Well, maybe in the middle of the Gobi Desert perhaps. Or Death Valley maybe, but those solutions carry their own forms of punishment too.

The problem with Trump is not that he exists at all, but rather that he possesses a weird sort of power over each of us in our daily lives, if not the entire world itself. Yes, I said power. At this moment, when you strip away all the news coverage,Donald Trump is still a nobody. He has not attained that lofty Oval Office, yet he carries himself as if he had already moved in. Just yesterday he told the entire GOP flat out to "Be Quiet, just be quiet...or I will do this alone!" That, my friends, is an ultimatum. The words he spoke carry the power over others, specifically the Republican party and literally all of his voting base. He is immersed in his own private war with anyone who does not immediately agree with him. He declared the war himself last year, when he first announced his claim on the mythical throne of ultimate power, and his antics have directly affected every one of us ever since.

At first everyone treated his candidacy as a distraction, even a joke of some kind. Pundits from all over the spectrum said he had no chance. Then, as the tirades and personal insults began to fly, more and more people began to flock to his banner. Pundits took notice, Trump had a following. And what a following it had become. Most reputable commentators agree that Trumps followers fit into a rather narrow type category. Most seem to be lesser educated individuals, the GED crowd if you will, and are simply unhappy with their lot in life. They are the complainers in society, but they are generally not problem solvers. They will tell you everything that is wrong in the world, but will reject any plan to correct those wrongs, at least any plan other than their savior, Donald Trump. Oh boy, he sure does have some plans.

The Wall - If you've never heard of it then you are probably the only person in the world who hasn't. Mr. Trumps solution to illegal immigrants is to build a long wall at the southern border between The United States and Mexico. This wall would be some thirty feet tall and extend some 2000 miles along the entire border. And the best part of Donald's proposal is that he would "make Mexico pay for it!" Even though I am the eternal optimist, I still find more than a few problems with the practicality of "The Great Wall of America"...the least of which is that drug smugglers already dig a new tunnel under the border about every week now!

Ban Muslims - I just know you've heard that one...Donald Trump proposed that the United States place a ban on all Muslim immigrants entering the US, at least temporarily. This is supposedly in response to the growing terrorist threat. I won't write too much on that one, but practical does not appear to be in the plan anywhere. Oh, and he did say it "was only a suggestion"...

Rewrite all International Trade Agreements - Donald says current trade agreements are "unfair" to the US, and he would negotiate all new ones to better benefit our workers. This is supposed to be a solution for unemployment...

Overhaul the Tax Laws - since this one item has been a part of every single presidential campaign speech for fifty years, I'm not going to belabor it here. Let's just say that Trump has his own rhetorical version too, and as with his other proposals it is long on promises and very short on substance...

Anyway, I think we covered Trumps power asperations. In short he already exercises a certain power over a small portion of the electorate, but he wants it all. Donald Trump wants to "rule" your life through the power he believes he will gain from being elected President of the United States. To be frank, I do not believe that he understands that what he believes he can do as president is even remotely legal, let alone moral...

As always, feel free to comment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Donald vs The World

There is a phenomenon on the horizon. He is often referred to as "The Donald". Unless you have been in a coma for the last ten years or so you know immediately who I mean.
Me, I call him "the bully". He does not care what he says to anyone, or about anyone. He isn't afraid to demean or ridicule any one person, or group of people for that matter. His "campaign" is apparently based upon the simplest solutions for all our problems. "Bomb them, build a huge wall to keep them out, deport them". Sound familiar? It should, "The Donald" has said all that and more. He has ridiculed and slammed anyone who has the temerity to call him out, or simply disagree. The bottom line here seems to be, if you don't agree with him or revere him you are "a target"!
Donald Trump is a show man first and foremost. And he is very good at it. Make no mistake, he is intelligent. He knows exactly how to push the buttons of a large number of Americans, a group who is disillusioned, and angry with just about anything in their lives. The real problem surfaces when you look beyond all the rhetoric and simple solutions. Is there any substance to what he says? Not in my mind...all his antics before the camera generates media attention, and it sways the growing numbers of people who just want someone to tell them what they want to hear, that there is an end to all the craziness in the world.
There was a movie produced back in 1995 titled The American President. I loved it! One of the characters reminds me of Donald Trump. In fact, the Richard Dreyfuss portrayal of President Shepherds nemesis, Senator Bob Rumson, is eerily similar to what we now expect out of The Donalds mouth. Frankly it frightens me...writing such a character into a movie is entertaining, but seeing that character in real time is just too much. Can you really see Donald Trump leading our country?
God, I hope not...