Archive for September 2006

Tobasco and Jews

September 29, 2006

Found an archived link on Sala’s site, that tallies up republican votes for Israel compared to Democrat votes. It is relevant to the topic Bookworm brought up, in that Jews vote predominantly Democrat for some reason.

There was also this about LTG Mattis. Something Bush won’t talk about and someone who Bush won’t support. But for the Jacksonians, Mattis has achieved almost Patton like mystique.

A nice little summary of how to learn about war.

The moral high ground of the Left.

Some British political ugh interrogation, for those interested and those who read Melannie Phillips

End Game Democrats

BLACKFIVE comes off the top rope. I’m not getting in his way.

A quaint discussion on what to do with terrorists, and do terrorists apply under the Geneva Conventions? Simple answer, yes they do.

Reminder from Afghanistan, Michael Yon on CNN

End Game Democrats 2

I can’t find that End Game Power Politics post Sala put up. Too bad, it was quite impactful.

I did find this diagram which is curiously interesting in a way.


A valid question from hillary?

September 24, 2006

Steven Den Beste – Good and Bad Anime Villains

September 21, 2006

I was reading your post on that subject, and I got to thinking about the other characters you didn’t mention. Notably, the characters in anime that you might not have watched yet, Bleach and Naruto. As well as Atsuyu, the villain in the last episode of Juuni Kokki.

Atsuyu fit your standard of being tempting, an attractive and charismatic figure. True evil isn’t true evil without having a bit of debonair flare and charisma. If evil always looked ugly, then it wouldn’t be so much of a problem for the human race, the way I see it.

On Hubris, this guy scores a pretty high max, as he just believes he is on the moral high ground, the path of righteousness, and everything shall fall into place one way or another.

Nemesis, is of course conservatively predictable for the villain. It gets high marks for “true justice” as well. Meaning, a reversal, an exposure of fake righteousness, as well as a checkmate execution. The villain got defeated not because he failed, but because everything he was trying to get was exposed as a fake.

The scare factor probably comes in concerning characters that are fooled. I care about those characters, and so there’s a bit of fear when those characters fall under the sway of the villain’s charisma.

I think Juuni Kokki, or the Twelve of Kingdoms, does an excellent job of portraying human dynamics and human politics. Using the Japanese feudal model, with modifications of course.

It’s very ambiguous. You don’t really know who is the good guy or the bad guy, or at least you don’t comprehend the reasons for it. You know Shoryuu is the good guy from the earlier episodes, but that doesn’t automatically make Atsuyu a bad guy. Even when Shoryuu told the Empress that he killed Atsuyu.

I see a lot of this fake righteousness in real life situations. Like the one Bookworm wrote about, concerning do fake liberals and Democrats really care about other people or is this just a facade that fools people.

In Naruto and Bleach, the “menace” factor is extreme, ultra high quality extreme. Their (villains’) motivations are easy to understand. And horrible to contemplate.

Naruto and Bleach were inspired by DBZ’s creator. Naruto’s Kishomoto, because he kept drawing DBZ manga. Bleach’s creator, because the DBZ author gave him support when his Bleach manga was rejected by Shounen. Both Bleach and Naruto have a sort of hybrid villain system. In which you start off small, and the small fry villains you fight are only slightly menacing and dangerous. Then when you defeat them, you convert them to your cause. I didn’t watch the early episodes of DBZ, so I can’t describe the exact correlations. But I do know Piccolo was fighting the main character, and then they fight together. In Bleach and Naruto, the fusion between former enemy and current friend is much much stronger and harmonious. They aren’t “allied” because of convenience, like Goku and Vegeta were. But rather because they have the same philosophy now afterwards.

It is similar to Juuni Kokki’s large numbers of serial villains combined with DBZ’s redemption qualities then. One after another, some alike, some very different. Specifically, the villain progression in Naruto is very well done. Mishimoto gradually scales up the menace factor, the evil factor from small to huge. The sympathy you feel is not for the top villains, but you do feel sympathy for the lives those villains have affected. This being a Japanese animation, you have leader villains with henchemen, bound by loyalty binds and oaths of fealty. So even if there is no sympathy for the top villain, there is much for their sacrificial pawns.

Personally, the main character of the Twelve Kingdoms when she had that confrontation at the end, was very well done. The resolution was quite… final so to speak. It had a very nice dramatic flare as well. He who controls the military, controls the government after all.

A lot of the villains in Naruto and Bleach are after power, pure power. Not power through manipulation, or votes, or having people who follow them. No, this isn’t a mass cult following, although there are some elements there but the number of followers are pretty small. The villains mostly seek personal power, power sourced from themselves. They’ll use others to get that power, sort of like narcissists. The only thing that matter is themselves, if they have to derive their identity by looking into the mirror of other people’s faces, so be it. This is why the menace factor is very high, and the hubris level not so high. They are menacing precisely “because” they are everything they say they are. This isn’t hubris, they are as powerful as they say they are, in fact they are more powerful than they look and say. A lot of the fights in Naruto and Bleach are “underplayed”. Meaning, like in politics when you lowball. You test a person’s power and speed first, using non-serious strikes, then step up the power when you are serious. Percent duty cycles or something.

The right Nemesis for Naruto and Bleach is almost always the main character. The resolutions are also very interesting, in that it maximizes human potential. Meaning, yes the opponents of the main char is fighting for their own personal motivations, but through fighting the main char, they actually are able to fullfill their personal goals much better after they get beaten. As weirdly as that sounds. Counter-intuitive so to speak. At least if you talk to people who see Iraq as a one edged sword. Sometimes getting beaten, like Japan got beaten, is a good thing for your future. Like I said, counter-intuitive for the people who only see things in linear one dimensional images. They are the ones who think that if the enemy is in range of your guns, you aren’t in the range of the enemy’s guns.

The charisma is… of course present for the villains of Naruto and Bleach. We don’t see it, of course, but the followers of these villains do. They feel honest loyalty and true belief, because the followers were helped by the villains in the past. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you in other words. We understand but do not approve, and feel sad at their brainwashing and eventual fates.

The Police State that is Britain

September 20, 2006

I found that blog and was intrigued by the writing style.

It is funny how a study with sample of 10 can be considered “scientific.” As for taking British chefs seriously, we all know the British are famous for their cooking. My local phone book included advertisements for restaurants featuring American, Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Mexican, Pakistani, Persian, Salvadoran, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but there were none featuring cuisine from any of the British Isles. Even if such knives are useless to all chefs, not just British ones, they are handy in less affluent kitchens. A long, pointed knife is perfect for slicing steaks off of a chuck roast and for tenderizing a Swiss steak.

If long knives are to be banned, shouldn’t all potential weapons be banned? People could slit others’ throats with shorter knives, so those should be banned. Other kitchen utensils such as ice picks and shish-ke-bab skewers could be used as weapons and should be eliminated. Stabbing isn’t the only way to injure or kill people. Every year people are hurt or killed by blunt force trauma. Therefore, heavy cast-iron skillets must also be banned.

Office supplies could also be used as weapons. Letter openers should be banned, as should those old fashioned, long, pointed metal spindles for holding papers. Other office supplies such as large paper weights, heavy three-hole punches and hefty hard cover books must also be eliminated since those can be used to smash someone over the head.

Eva says it in jest, but of course, it is the route Britain is on. See any gels or liquids banned lately on airplanes?

Language, Linguistics, Lightning Round

September 20, 2006

[An argument I was having over whether the English language was precise because it had many words and definitions or whether all those definitions and words created ambiguity instead of precision] I favor the former, Kevin favors the latter.]

No, it means the same thing, modified by the shades of meaning. It does not mean different things in different situations. Difference logically derives from different logical premises, and different logical premises results in different meanings for words. The meaning for a key and a keystone and the various other 80% of the usages on, is of course, based upon the same logical premise. The same abstract imaginary coordinate in space. Words mean different things when their meanings are not related abstractedly at all.

It’s simple analogy, kevin. You don’t know what a keystone is, you don’t know that the “key” means important? You have problems correlating this

As to the issue that began this thread, I have to agree with DQ on this one–why sweat the small stuff?

with this

A keystone is small, kevin, but it doesn’t mean it should be ignored.


Okay. If you have problems, that’s fine. I can spell it out.

Some of the keystones of a language, that which holds everything together, is its structure, the rules, and the meaning of words. So, even though these things look small, their importance is comparable to the importance a keystone holds for an architectural structure. Small, but if you ignore it or break it, it will cause a systematic crash. Do you understand the answer to your question “why sweat the small stuff” now?

Here’s how you, Kevin, differ with me. I believe that words have meaning, irrespective of how you massage the sentence and the context. You believe words have meaning because you get it from context alone. Your words, not mine. You said it comes down to context. It comes down to context in Chinese, and perhaps intonation of the syllables in spoken form. But not in English.

Context, is also known as the reality part of meaning in language. I am refering, of course, to phasor mathematics. Converting from rectangular to polar, polar to rectangular. The English language is setup so that it has two components. A real, and an imaginary. The imaginary component is the abstract, it is how our thoughts are organized, it does not come from what we see or feel in the world. Mathematics is abstract, but just because it is abstract, does not mean it cannot affect the real world. Thus x and y. i and j for imaginary y, and x for the real x axis. 5 + 5i instead of x,y.

Context is the x coordinate, horizontal axis. The abstract component is the y part, i or j. You believe the meaning of words come from context, without context the meaning of words are confused. There’s two practical applications, one for you, one for me.

You could go with the context model, which Clinton also used when he said “it depends upon what the meaning of is is”. It depends upon the context in which a word is used, to decipher the imaginary portion of that word, its abstract meaning.

Or you could go with my model, in which the real part, context, and the imaginary abstract part, the i, are independent of each other. Only when you convert them to polar form, do they affect each other.

The reason my model is more precise, as an application of the English language, is because I have two independent axis from which to choose variables from. You only have one, context. Words have meaning based upon context, all other methods produce confusion.

My model doesn’t produce confusion, because it allows for the existence of the abstract part independent of the real existing or not. Meaning, words have abstract meanings regardless of how they exist in a sentence, independent of the context even. So instead of the real dictating what the abstract means, the abstract dictates to the real what it is. And vice a versa. My model can do it both either ways. yours is sort of a one way street.

This allows more variables, more precision, and more shades of meaning, without losing the “definition” of a word by changing it into something it is not.

Instead of saying “let’s talk about what the definition of is, is”, I say, let’s talk about combining the abstract definition of is with the context of what situation you wish to use it in conjunction with.

I bolded the word “different” for a reason, you know. It’s more different than just “different”. The previous example is of using the same word in different real locations, with different abstract meanings. This is an example of where the abstract is modified by the real context, creating ambiguous meanings when one word is used many times in different contexts and for different abstract meanings.

If that doesn’t make sense, let’s just say that the sentence I used “different than just different” is what kevin was talking about in terms of the word key. Not the same thing, I think. Can you use context to figure out what I was talking about? Yes you can. But you lack something, and that something is called “precision”. If you can’t tell which part is from which manufacturer, if you can’t tell which part is part of which generation, then you will lack precision in your design work.

The way key is used, refering to kevin’s complaint about the number of variations in the dictionary, is this way.

1. a small metal instrument specially cut to fit into a lock and move its bolt.

9. the system, method, pattern, etc., used to decode or decipher a cryptogram, as a code book, machine setting, or key word.

12. Music.
a. (in a keyboard instrument) one of the levers that when depressed by the performer sets in motion the playing mechanism.
b. (on a woodwind instrument) a metal lever that opens and closes a vent.
c. the relationship perceived between all tones in a given unit of music and a single tone or a keynote; tonality.
d. the principal tonality of a composition: a symphony in the key of C minor.
e. the keynote or tonic of a scale.

Here are the synonymns and antonymns of the word key

Synonyms: basic, chief, crucial, decisive, fundamental, important, indispensable, leading, main, major, material, pivotal, primary, principal, vital
Antonyms: peripheral, secondary

Key=principal object I use to open the lock on my primary structure of residence.

To wrap it all up. Let’s just say that there are 3 components to the meaning of a word. Its contextual real part, its abstract imaginary part, and its polar hybrid part which is both its real part and abstract part combined.

The definitions for key you see here all have the same abstract component. The abstract component of “primary”, “necessary”, that which revolves in your head when you think about what you NEED. That thought, that’s the abstract thought I’m refering to. The “meaning” derives when you have the context. If you are talking about musical instruments, the “key” then becomes that which relates to the context of musical instruments and other similar situations. Context plus abstract, equals polar hybrid.

So, what does this all mean you might be thinking. What does this have to do with what I or Kevin were talking about? It can be wrapped up in a short description, so be not afraid.

“When people choose to use fewer words, and keep using the same words in their vocabulary to mean DIFFERENT things in different situations, then that is imprecision.”

And the single word key means many different things in different situtations–it comes down to the context in which it is used and can lead to confusion, so what again is your point?

Comment by kevin | September 19, 2006

Words that mean different things are words with different polar hybrids. Different situations means different abstract parts of the rectangular coordinate, real with imaginary.

So, how are you able to use the “same” word, to mean different things, in different situations? You can and the Democrats do. Torture is beneath our dignity and the dignity of humanity, therefore torture should be illegal. The CIA torturing someone then, is wrong.

You have one word, torture, with the same abstract coordinate, to inflict pain purposefully, combined with 3 different contextual real coordinates. To inflict pain combined with beneath our dignity, a moral result and meaning. To inflict pain combined with law, making it illegal to inflict pain purposefully. Then finally you have to inflict pain combined with the ethical judgement, that it is wrong, that it should not be done in any situation.

Used in an argument that appears to be logical, and what you have is one method of creating a circular argument using ambiguous semantics, words, and meanings.

Greater precision would automatically expose the illogic, only greater ambiguity can cover up gross deficiencies like the incident I’ve described.

But what does this have to do with the word key? Because the definitions listed for key are for different meanings. Different meanings, of different words, in different contexts. Kevin assumed that all the definitions listed for key were talking about meant that you were going to get a lot of confusion when you use the word multiple words of “key” in the same sentence.

I think that would be correct, but that is why I specified “fewer words”. More words, mean more precision. More variations of that one word, means if you do have two of them, you don’t have to figure out based upon the context what the meaning of the word “key” means. You can actually figure out the context from the meaning of a word, if you lack the context. Or you can figure out the meaning of the word key, from its context. But that is only because there are already numerous meanings for key, used in different situations. Since key has preset configurations, you just look it up.

If you had one word that meant one thing in one situation, only. What would you do if the contextual situation changed? You only have the imaginary part, how are you going to get the real part, then combine them together to get the meaning? Very hard to impossible, and still very imprecise and slow.

Practical application? the word torture.

Not many meanings to that word. So, when I want to use torture to mean good things, for necessary things, do I use torture or do I use another word, hard interrogation methods? Is torture just too… EngSoc to include all the different shades of meaning I demand that it be capable of?

When a person says he doesn’t like torture, does he mean he doesn’t like the infliction of pain on purpose or does he mean he doesn’t like tormenting a person for revenge? How do you tell the difference by context alone? You can’t, because because they are the same word.

1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.

holy Christ. You have 3 meanings in one word, for one instance of a definition. I think my model is more preferable. My model, the many definitions for the word key, is more precise than kevin’s model where it says the less definitions the less confusing.

People can decide whatever they want, this was not easy to come up with.

For reference purposes, or just if you are confused. Here’s a logic whatever.

X=real=context=contextual=situation=environment used=X coordinate

y=imaginary=i=j=abstract=pure thought=abstract meaning

polar hybrid form=meaning, the kind of things it means=what you get when you take a word and combine it with the context in which that word is used= x+y. Also x+iy.

Comment by Ymarsakar | September 20, 2006

Around the World via the Blogosphere

September 19, 2006

Here’s some stuff I found pretty interesting while surfing the blogs.

Here we had a politician being asked a question about when his family ran away from Judaism. The reaction, priceless.

Then we had a post by Shrinkwrapped about gun control. Useful for those who understand psychology, and recommended for its other salient points.

Finally, we have this propaganda video by Kurdistan. I mean propaganda by, something created to convince people. It is not “advertisement” precisely because this movie was paid for by the Kurdistan government. Thus anything paid for by the government is called propaganda, including probably the BBC in one way or another.

Propaganda is like executions. It all depends upon who uses it, and who it is used upon. Good guys executing child rapists.. not exactly something I’ll raise much raucus about. Bad guys executing a raped teenager in Iran? That is a different story. Same with propaganda.

Red vs Blue -A battlefield scenario

September 14, 2006

[Just something I brainstormed while talking about the media and Vietnam, when I read bookworm’s post on it]

People are tired of war, they want to go back to winning elections, envying Hollywood, and making money.

The weird thing is, it’s like a sports team constantly getting beat, and the fans never likes it. However, the fans (Red Sox) keep rooting for their team. Unlike sports tv, Iraq is only shown piecemeal. So you have all the bad mistakes on the Red Sox being shown, and you can’t feel “good” about anything. Meaning, they show you the Red Sox losing, but they never show you the Red Sox scoring anything. So instead of a real game where you see both sides in continuous time, you see snatches that keep your spirit at an all time low always. There’s no ups and downs usually going on as with a normal game. Instead of seeing one team score, other team score, we see one team score, other team fumbles, one team scores, other team fumbles, and so forth. Eventually someone might just shut the tv off with that kind of frustration.

You can get people away from despair, by giving a victory party. However, first you have to get a victory. And you can’t get a victory if nobody is paying attention to the Red Sox’s wins. People do reminder the ecstatic mood when the Marines got to Baghdad. Future failures are to be expected, you can’t win all the time. However, there have been few ups and down cycles. The election was notable because it was low, high, low. The invasion, high to low. The second election was high, middle, low, middle.

Reminds me of an AC sinuisoidal wave. The media damps down the morale and spirit of the US people, preventing it from going high or low. The failures are not as painful as pictures of Pallywood. The successes are not as joyful as marriages and promotions, but more like a 1% raise in your salary. Good news, but negligible. After awhile, this kind of mood will break people’s spirit and willpower. At that moment, a coup de grace like the Tet Offensive can obviously shatter the will of a weakened people.

You should have heard this general story about two armies clashing on the field of battle. Red Army is fighting a losing battle, ultimately giving ground in order to prevent being enveloped. Blue Army is focused on smashing through the middle of the Red Lines, and defeating the enemy in detail. Blue army sees their side pushing through Red’s center, slaughtering all in their way to victory and glory. Blue’s soldiers feel uplifted, euphoric, ultimately joyous more or less at the sight. Red’s morale is shaking, but holding.

Who will win the battle? The side that perceives that they are going to win. So obviously Red wins because they hid forces behind the Blue lines, allowing Red to hit Blue’s forces in the rear at the moment of their victory. By snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Red has demoralized Blue to such an extent that their morale shatters and they run for it. Blue has thrown down their weapons and is proceeding to leave the battlefield via a rout. How can this be, wasn’t Blue winning? How could a small force hidden behind the indomitable Blue Army crashing their way through Red’s center to victory, possibly be defeated by a small force from the rear when victory was almost on the tongues of Blue’s men?

The reason is simple. It was precisely because Blue thought they were winning, that they were defeated. Perception creates victory, but whose perception of whom however, is not set in stone. It is mercurial, shifting.

Blue by believing that the battle was almost won, dropped their mental barriers. This allowed a small force that could surprise them with shock and awe (the real thing, not the Donald Rumsfeld air force version) to mow down several people at the back of Blue’s lines. Blue’s formation would shift, appearing to Red’s center as if Blue was attempting to run away. Blue would be totally surprised, and even though Blue outnumbers the small force in their rear, panic sets in. You see, Blue believed things were going to happen in a certain way, and when new things occur, they cannot adapt, they panic, they are confused, they are without orders and direction. While Red’s center was being pushed inwards, Red didn’t run, because Red had orders and knew what to do. Hold the center, that was all. Even though they were dieing in droves to hold the center, they did not break and run. Yet Blue broke and ran after suffering a miniscule amount of deaths compared to that which Red’s Center suffered. How could that be? Shock and Awe. The shock of being surprised and killed by a foe that you thought you had defeaten, the awe of Red’s Center as they realized that victory was indeed occuring after gruesome hours of holding the line, watching their friends fall on their sides.

Red counter-attacks, with renewed vengeance, with a focus on vengeance. Red now believes victory is at hand. Why is that different from Blue’s belief that victory was at hand? Because Red came to believe in victory after being at the BOTTOM, near bottom, of the morale scale. Red’s morale has skyrocketed, from almost zero. The delta, the change, was from 0 to skyscraper. For Blue, they started off high, and when surprised, their morale shrunk and fell. As with gravity, if you fall from a great height, you hurt yourself. Blue’s morale fell from skyscraper heights, to the ground. The acceleration was so fast, Blue’s will to fight was broken instantaneously. It’s simple force equations. F=v^2m iirc. Velocity being displacement over time. The less time, the more velocity, the more velocity, the more force. Red was losing morale at a very low rate, a low velocity. Blue lost their morale all at about the same time. That has a devastating effect.

The Democrats are so busy focusing on the kill counts, but you do understand that their effect on people and you are not based upon absolute numbers, right? Their propaganda effect is focused through changing your morale, numbers are simply a means to an end. It is the morale, the willpower, the spirit, that counts. It is what restricts your war machines and your body. No matter how strong or how numerous, those who are not willing to act, might as well be frozen in time regardless of their power on paper.

The Democrats do not care about how many die, in so far as the more that die, the more readily they can decrease your morale to fight. Attrition warfare, the lowest and crudest form of warfare.

But as the scenario I painted portrayed with Blue vs Red, it is not numbers that matter, it is time, shock, and awe.

Two generals have used inferior numerical forces to best and defeat superior forces. They weren’t “freedom fighters” or “guerrilas” or even terrorists. Guerrila warfare is not some esoteric discipline based upon principles foreign and alien to warfare. It is simply taking a weakened position and purposefully applying it against a stronger position, which is what warfare mostly is about. The strong killing the weak, and the weak trying to survive and kill the strong. In other words, the 21st century of “Siege Warfare”. But back to the two generals. Their names were Belisarius and Hannibal Barca. Most infamous, there are many more leaders and generals in history.

Why did Hannibal Barca cross the Alps? Why did Hannibal Barca bait a full Roman Legion across a river with his light numidian cavalry? Why did the generals send an armored push through to Baghdad?

Studying the current war and reading the events about it, is not a good way to understand warfare. Simply because this war isn’t over, you can’t see what will be or could have been. Looking into past battles however, and you can see the long reaching effects of the actions of both sides.