Nov 12

Petrayed

I used to know David Petraeus professionally and personally (a little), and I am no fan of his – his political ambitions and astuteness always overmatched his martial skill – but I agree with this, that America’s fear of sex was what brought him down and really nothing else, or nothing relevant.

Background: I served with David Petraeus in the 82nd Airborne Division, which is a “required” command if one wants to advance as an officer in the combat arms, as it is a prestige unit.

He was a full-bird colonel brigade commander, and I was a military photojournalist. I have been on many morning runs and military jumps with the guy.

Nov 10

Justified

Why is this a problem?

I have no issue at all with hating racist, ignorant, stuck-in-the past fuddy-duddies who want to take away everything that is a marker of civilization and shatter everything into shards that creates a functional society. These are the people who want to keep Social Security and Medicare for themselves but make sure no one else gets it. Who deny global warming and disbelieve evolution. Who want to shove their 15th century religion down our throats. Who want women to be chattel once again.

Even though it doesn’t matter much – with global climate change and all – these people deserve to be hated because they are nearly everything substantive that is wrong with the world.

And if you protest that you are a Republican but aren’t a racist anti-science ladder-puller, why would you want to hitch yourself to such a regressive organization as the Republican party?

So, no, I don’t buy it.

I hate these people even though it doesn’t matter much. They deserve to be hated. I don’t give a shit about the validity of their viewpoint from their perspective.

The world would be better off without them.

Nov 10

Old tech

Now when I try to read a book in the dark, I’m a bit annoyed that it has no internal lighting.

Old tech sucks.

I understand the attraction of physical objects, but books are inferior in nearly every way to a good e-reader.

I remember 10-12 years ago when e-readers were new and the consensus was that no one – and certainly not the general public – would embrace e-readers.

Shows you how often the consensus is no better than a crack-smoking chihuahua.

Nov 10

Elected

When I aver that elections don’t matter much, here’s what I am thinking about.

‘‘For humanity it’s a matter of life or death … we will not make all human beings extinct, as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4 degrees.

‘‘If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.’’

Most people seem not to realize that they don’t need to watch an apocalyptic movie to get a dose of eschatology – no, they are already living in a slow-motion cataclysm right now.

Human rights, drones, contraception, abstinence education and marijuana legalization will not matter one fucking bit when you are a refugee huddled in a canvas tent in the Yukon Province (as that’s the only place any crops will grow), starving and pestilent.

So, vote for Romney or for Obama. Vote for Santa Fucking Claus. It doesn’t matter. We will not do anything about global climate change, and it’s likely already too late anyway.

I was telling my partner that I am glad I am the age that I am right now. I got to have a good life. A very good life, really. Things won’t start getting really bad until I am old.

For those under 20 or so, and for the children being born right now? Life is likely to become a Road Warrior meets The Road living nightmare.

Nov 08

Dabbling

I’ve always dabbled in nearly everything. Probably always will.

In high school, both parents of a close friend of mine were doctors. The father, who was a cardiologist, would leave his cardiology journals around the house.

So I’d read them, not for any particular reason, but because they were interesting and I was bored. I read these journals for about a year. At first, I understood maybe half of what was in them. Then maybe 75%. After a year, I understood maybe 90% of what was in each issue.

Like I said, no reason. It was just knowledge and available and I thought it was interesting.

One day while I was around, my friend’s father came home from work and started talking to his wife about some new procedure that he was trying at work.

I’d been reading about this procedure for nearly a year – its implications and drawbacks – and was familiar with it.

So I said, “That new aortic stenosis procedure does seem promising, but sans development of better minimally invasive techniques, the risk of endocarditis might be too high and push mortality back to right where it would be due to follow-on infection.”

Ha. Never have I seen jaws drop so quickly.

Now I don’t know jack shit about cardiology. Reading a hundred cardiology journals does not a cardiologist make.

I just thought it’d be funny to make a cardiologist think I was moonlighting at some hospital Doogie Howser-style.

And it was. It very much was.

But I do like having broad knowledge, even if it’s not that deep. It’s much harder to get snookered that way.

And it usually means I can fool an expert for a few hours in quite a few fields, which also can be fun.

Nov 07

Progress

For the first time in history, a state has an all-female congressional delegation.

New Hampshire now has two female senators, two female representatives, and even a female governor — yet the world hasn’t ended.

Nov 07

What pro

The below is what pro-level software can do for your raw photo files. This was with Adobe Lightroom 4.2 and Photoshop CS6.

I didn’t even do that much processing. All was done in the name of making the final image look as much like reality as possible, rather than the commercial photographer’s goal of making the photo resemble reality as little as possible.

The shot on the left is before processing through Lightroom and Photoshop. The one on the right (click for larger) is post-processing. A much better, and truer image. I know – I was there. Image was shot on a Canon T4i with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens at 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800, 400mm, hand-held (braced).

image

Final image:

fish I don’t think the yellow/orange is quite right, but I don’t feel like messing with it any longer. My monitor is not properly calibrated anyway, and I doubt anyone reading this has a monitor that is, either.

Nov 07

Richly stating it

The most interesting thing that happened in the election this year was that Puerto Rico voted to become a state.

I don’t know enough about the political process of statehood to say what this means. I believe a bill has to be introduced in Congress asking to be admitted to the union. The Republicans are likely to block/prevent this as Puerto Rico would be a Democrat state very reliably.

Still, this is the first time that Puerto Rico has voted affirmative for statehood and we very well could have a 51st state soon.

And if you can’t read Spanish, figure it out. Heh.

Nov 07

Won by

Obama won, surprising absolutely fucking no one except our idiotic press. I knew it’d be over by 11PM EST, and it was.

Shock. I must be some kind of magician.

Now it’s four more years of a corporate shill not quite as gleeful about oppression and killing as his cartoonishly-sociopathic former rival.

Con-fucking-gratulations.

Nov 06

The press is lying to you

The press is still telling you that it is a toss-up race between Obama and Romney.

The press is, as usual, completely lying to you.

Statistically, Romney stands very little chance. For him to win, absolutely everything would have to go his way, and absolutely everything would have to go against Obama.

That is of course extremely unlikely.

I don’t personally give a fuck who wins, as it matters very little in the medium or long run (and not even that much in the short run).