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Time to Play Armchair General Again

'Portentous ' is not a word that I would expect to use very often, when discussing media drivel. But it might be the right word to describe an article about Turkey's successful use of drone swarms in recent conflicts. If inexpensive drone swarms are the way of war in the future, it could change the balance of power between the leading warmonger states. You would expect the USA to continue to 'fight the last war', with billion dollar aircraft carriers and a handful of ultra-expensive aircraft. It will continue to look back to the "Good War," World War II. Even if there were a change in thinking in the Pentagon, why would the USA be good at mass-producing anything? But not all powerful countries are post-industrial like the USA. China should be hugely successful at mass-producing drones. What am I overlooking? It seems like the USA should just accept secondary military stature gracefully, and try to stay out of the way of the up-and-comers. from

Cracks in America's "Berlin Wall?"

  I was pleased to learn how easy it is to block the trolls who are trying to sabotage  They put soft-core porn pictures on the site in an attempt to discourage parler from 'taking off' or achieving 'critical mass.' Or it could be individual cranks with no political agenda. How could I ever know? All you have to do is go to the upper right hand corner of the troll's post and click the down arrow. Then some options come up. One of them is "Block @poster'sName."  Why do you have to do this? Why doesn't do it automatically? I suppose Parler is trying to live up to their free-speech ideals. I hope viewers don't get discouraged by these trolls, because it would be great if some of the new alternatives to the Main Stream Media survive and thrive. I don't really understand how to make the best use of these alternatives. And which ones will be my favorites, eventually? But there is something about this cracking of the MSM mon

The Wrong Camera?

He was big and proud: a male bighorn sheep was posing on a mountainous ridgeline, merely 100 yards from the road. I pulled over and rolled the window down. But I had no camera! A couple years ago I gave up on the $200 cameras with 20X optical zoom. They only lasted 2-3 years. Usually the telescoping zoom mechanism would stop working. Presumably it only took one grain of sand to jam things up. My solution was a "tough" camera which lacks an external telescoping mechanism. It does have an internal telescoping mechanism for optical zoom. Keeping the moving/sliding parts internal is what keeps it 'tough.' But it also keeps the optical zoom down to a mere 4X.  That would barely have worked for that magnificent bighorn ram.  So did I do the right thing by giving up on those 20X zoom cameras? It seemed like the right decision at the time, but I never bring my (low zoom) digital camera along anymore. And the smartphone has no zoom.  Since I belong to the school of photograp

Remaking a Classic Movie

  I am down to four library cards these days, and am enjoying one of them at the current location. It's too bad they don't own more classic movies. But I managed to find something halfway decent. (In the library I had overheard a strange telephone conversation between a librarian and a patron, whose voice was weak and garbled perhaps because the patron was talking into the phone, with her mask on.) On the way home I stopped at the McDonald's drive-through, for the first time this year. As I approached the place where you scream what you want, I saw a piece of paper, perhaps a sign, taped to the menu. Oh no! Was this going to be a warning/scolding/shaming about wearing a mask? What was I supposed to do?: put a mask on and scream into the box? A scene in one of those non-existent classic movies popped into my mind: recall Billy Wilder's "Stalag 17", about the Americans in a German POW camp in World War II. The German camp commandant needed to make a telephone c

Taking Nominations for Most Important Book for Today's Times

What book has the most important ideas for helping the world through the problems of today? It is easier to say what books should not be nominated. Cross off most of the books you were encouraged to read in school: Montesquieu, Locke, Rousseau, the Federalist Papers, etc. They are excellent and important, and worth reading in general. But not today.  My nomination goes to a book that you can be damn sure was not on the reading list at school; nor was it ever a New York Times best-seller. The books is La Boetie's "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. "  As a runner-up I nominate Thoreau's "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience."  Both books discuss the ease with which dictators can be opposed merely by the human herd not complying with the edicts of the Mighty.  Camping a couple years ago in the Utah high country. A thousand sheep were being managed by a Peruvian shepherd and his 3 dogs. Now, it seems like I have taken all the sport out of this post for the reader,