Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"CHIP $9 Computer"--Explaining Computers. This, and the Raspberry Pi, are incredible values for what they offer.

The Universal Lethal Lace holster, features an integrated holster that includes a small pad, as well as a length of fabric and a clip. To use the Lethal Lace holster, an end user simply places the pistol in the holster. Places the pistol against the body where it is to be secured and wraps the holster to the body. At the end of the fabric is a small clip that is used to secure the overall assembly. 
The photographs show that the device can be wrapped around the torso, the leg, and so on, offering various locations for concealing a weapon. Notwithstanding the name, they also offer less frilly versions for men.
  • Fake News: "The NRA wants to suppress one of guns’ most important safety features"--Washington Post. The author of the article, in all seriousness, contends that the load report from a firearm is a "safety feature" because it alerts others that a firearm is being used. I guess, using that same reasoning, we should remove mufflers from automobiles.
  • "Body armor of the future could be made of human hair"--New York Post. The editor didn't read the story carefully before picking a headline. The article explains that researchers are investigating the properties of human hair, including the fact that it actually is stronger the harder it is pulled, to see if there is some way to transfer those same properties to other fibers to improve strength and elasticity.

Other Stuff:
     The speech will electrify President Trump’s followers. They will feel satisfaction that they understood him and knew what they were backing. And it will deepen the Washington establishment’s unease. Republican leaders had been hoping the address would ameliorate their anxieties about the continued primacy of their traditional policy preferences. Forget that. This was a declaration that the president is going his own way and they’d best follow.
Vox Day comments on Noonan's piece, and, in particular, a separate portion of her op-ed where she describes the United States as two nations, possibly more. Day observes: 
         The USA now contains considerably more than two nations. That's why it is no longer any more viable than the European Union. It's been held together by force, easy credit money, and sleight of hand for a long time, but not for much longer.

           For all his strength of will and civic nationalism, the God-Emperor cannot save the political entity, but he can put the American nation in a much better, much stronger position before the growing rifts become borders. He should take those who say he is not their president at their word, because they are neither the Posterity of the Founders nor We the People.
           Alpha emitters basically emit a form of radiation which kills cells within a cell diameter or two of the molecule, but which burns out at greater distances. In small doses in the intestine, it will kill back the cell layers immediately against the intestinal lumen where the food is, including the stem cells in the intestinal wall. This will reduce the ability of stem cells in the GI tract to replenish the intestinal epithelium, which separates what is in the intestine from the blood pathways.

           Your intestine basically holds rotting food by continually shedding the epithelial cell layer which is against the food as it breaks down, and raising a new layer right beneath it to continue the protective function. Kill back the stem cells, and you reduce the ability of the intestinal epithelial cell layer to replace the shed cell layer with a new cell layer. In short, you break down the intestinal wall and begin to let what is in the intestine have access to the body.

            If you get a massive dose, and kill off all the stem cells, your intestinal wall just sheds away without being replaced, and all the junk in the intestine will have a direct route into the bloodstream, just as all the blood will have a direct pathway into the colon, and out of the body. With an insufficient dose, you will merely impede the formation of a new cell layer, and trigger symptoms of GI illness which are survivable, so long as your weakened stem cells can just maintain enough of a protective layer to keep you alive long enough to build back up your stem cell levels, and restore your intestine’s regenerative ability.
            The distinctively American populism Trump espouses is rooted in the thought and culture of the country’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson. For Jacksonians—who formed the core of Trump’s passionately supportive base—the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment and oriented toward the fulfillment of a universal mission. Rather, it is the nation-state of the American people, and its chief business lies at home. Jacksonians see American exceptionalism not as a function of the universal appeal of American ideas, or even as a function of a unique American vocation to transform the world, but rather as rooted in the country’s singular commitment to the equality and dignity of individual American citizens. The role of the U.S. government, Jacksonians believe, is to fulfill the country’s destiny by looking after the physical security and economic well-being of the American people in their national home—and to do that while interfering as little as possible with the individual freedom that makes the country unique. 
               Jacksonian populism is only intermittently concerned with foreign policy, and indeed it is only intermittently engaged with politics more generally. It took a particular combination of forces and trends to mobilize it this election cycle, and most of those were domestically focused. In seeking to explain the Jacksonian surge, commentators have looked to factors such as wage stagnation, the loss of good jobs for unskilled workers, the hollowing out of civic life, a rise in drug use—conditions many associate with life in blighted inner cities that have spread across much of the country. But this is a partial and incomplete view. Identity and culture have historically played a major role in American politics, and 2016 was no exception. Jacksonian America felt itself to be under siege, with its values under attack and its future under threat. Trump—flawed as many Jacksonians themselves believed him to be—seemed the only candidate willing to help fight for its survival.
            He goes on:
                   Many Jacksonians came to believe that the American establishment was no longer reliably patriotic, with “patriotism” defined as an instinctive loyalty to the well-being and values of Jacksonian America. And they were not wholly wrong, by their lights. Many Americans with cosmopolitan sympathies see their main ethical imperative as working for the betterment of humanity in general. Jacksonians locate their moral community closer to home, in fellow citizens who share a common national bond. If the cosmopolitans see Jacksonians as backward and chauvinistic, Jacksonians return the favor by seeing the cosmopolitan elite as near treasonous—people who think it is morally questionable to put their own country, and its citizens, first.
                     Jacksonian distrust of elite patriotism has been increased by the country’s selective embrace of identity politics in recent decades. The contemporary American scene is filled with civic, political, and academic movements celebrating various ethnic, racial, gender, and religious identities. Elites have gradually welcomed demands for cultural recognition by African Americans, Hispanics, women, the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, Muslim Americans. Yet the situation is more complex for most Jacksonians, who don’t see themselves as fitting neatly into any of those categories.
                        Whites who organize around their specific European ethnic roots can do so with little pushback; Italian Americans and Irish Americans, for example, have long and storied traditions in the parade of American identity groups. But increasingly, those older ethnic identities have faded, and there are taboos against claiming a generic European American or white identity. Many white Americans thus find themselves in a society that talks constantly about the importance of identity, that values ethnic authenticity, that offers economic benefits and social advantages based on identity—for everybody but them. For Americans of mixed European background or for the millions who think of themselves simply as American, there are few acceptable ways to celebrate or even connect with one’s heritage.
                         There are many reasons for this, rooted in a complex process of intellectual reflection over U.S. history, but the reasons don’t necessarily make intuitive sense to unemployed former factory workers and their families. The growing resistance among many white voters to what they call “political correctness” and a growing willingness to articulate their own sense of group identity can sometimes reflect racism, but they need not always do so. People constantly told that they are racist for thinking in positive terms about what they see as their identity, however, may decide that racist is what they are, and that they might as well make the best of it. The rise of the so-called alt-right is at least partly rooted in this dynamic. 
                            The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the scattered, sometimes violent expressions of anti-police sentiment displayed in recent years compounded the Jacksonians’ sense of cultural alienation, and again, not simply because of race. Jacksonians instinctively support the police, just as they instinctively support the military. Those on the frontlines protecting society sometimes make mistakes, in this view, but mistakes are inevitable in the heat of combat, or in the face of crime. It is unfair and even immoral, many Jacksonians believe, to ask soldiers or police officers to put their lives on the line and face great risks and stress, only to have their choices second-guessed by armchair critics. Protests that many Americans saw as a quest for justice, therefore, often struck Jacksonians as attacks on law enforcement and public order. 
                              Gun control and immigration were two other issues that crystallized the perception among many voters that the political establishments of both parties had grown hostile to core national values. Non-Jacksonians often find it difficult to grasp the depth of the feelings these issues stir up and how proposals for gun control and immigration reform reinforce suspicions about elite control and cosmopolitanism. 
                                The right to bear arms plays a unique and hallowed role in Jacksonian political culture, and many Jacksonians consider the Second Amendment to be the most important in the Constitution. These Americans see the right of revolution, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, as the last resort of a free people to defend themselves against tyranny—and see that right as unenforceable without the possibility of bearing arms. They regard a family’s right to protect itself without reliance on the state, meanwhile, as not just a hypothetical ideal but a potential practical necessity—and something that elites don’t care about or even actively oppose. (Jacksonians have become increasingly concerned that Democrats and centrist Republicans will try to disarm them, which is one reason why mass shootings and subsequent calls for gun control spur spikes in gun sales, even as crime more generally has fallen.)
                                  As for immigration, here, too, most non-Jacksonians misread the source and nature of Jacksonian concern. There has been much discussion about the impact of immigration on the wages of low-skilled workers and some talk about xenophobia and Islamophobia. But Jacksonians in 2016 saw immigration as part of a deliberate and conscious attempt to marginalize them in their own country. Hopeful talk among Democrats about an “emerging Democratic majority” based on a secular decline in the percentage of the voting population that is white was heard in Jacksonian America as support for a deliberate transformation of American demographics. When Jacksonians hear elites’ strong support for high levels of immigration and their seeming lack of concern about illegal immigration, they do not immediately think of their pocketbooks. They see an elite out to banish them from power—politically, culturally, demographically. The recent spate of dramatic random terrorist attacks, finally, fused the immigration and personal security issues into a single toxic whole.
                                   In short, in November, many Americans voted their lack of confidence—not in a particular party but in the governing classes more generally and their associated global cosmopolitan ideology. Many Trump voters were less concerned with pushing a specific program than with stopping what appeared to be the inexorable movement of their country toward catastrophe.
                                     Mead continues by arguing that Jacksonian's opposition to the global order and the embrace of international organizations and treaties is because Jacksonian's have a different vision to offer, but because they don't trust those that make such decisions have America's best interests at heart. Mead contends that the elite need to regain this trust by considering the needs and desires of Americans.
                                       The challenge for international politics in the days ahead is therefore less to complete the task of liberal world order building along conventional lines than to find a way to stop the liberal order’s erosion and reground the global system on a more sustainable basis. International order needs to rest not just on elite consensus and balances of power and policy but also on the free choices of national communities—communities that need to feel protected from the outside world as much as they want to benefit from engaging with it.
                                         While I sense that Mead is sensing to find an appropriate historical analogy, I think he has missed the point. Although many of Trump's supporters would like to see a smaller government, most will be satisfied for a government that seeks to put American's interests first. In that, Mead is correct. But the current movement is only "Jacksonian" to the extent that encompasses a rejection of the political elites. Mead's analogy to the Jacksonians of the 19th Century is otherwise not all that helpful. Bluntly, this is not 1824. And, for those fearful of this so-called "populism," it is not 1933 either. What is happening now as a reaction to the failure of liberalism and the progressive movement.
                                           Trump supporters aren't fighting to expand the vote; frankly, most would like to see voter ID laws to ensure that only citizens are voting.
                                             Nor is "manifest destiny" at work here. In fact, I look at the Trump supporters and see people that have no interest in empire, either through international entanglements or immigration. Most Americans have no desire for an empire, and I believe that what we are seeing is the rejection of empire and its burdens, even if the growth of empire is couched in terms of spreading democracy, free trade, human rights, equality, and so forth. A sizable portion of the United States no longer cares that large portions of the world are happy to be ruled by tyrants, live in huts or shacks, or are too stupid not to defecate in their village's only water supply. We tried to lift the world to a better place, but it is impossible and, frankly, not worth the effort. And, moreover, we don't want the rest of the world living here. Americans are not responsible for the rest of the world, its problems, or saving it from its fate.
                                           And unlike Jackson, Trump is not promising a Laissez-faire stance vis-à-vis the economy. Instead, he is promising infrastructure improvements and tariffs on at least some imported goods. 

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