Archive for the ‘Voices’ Category

There were giants in those days …

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

… and Steven Den Beste was one of the greatest. Sadly, he’s now gone. His site, USS Clueless, was one of the first websites that became a daily stop – I set up a bookmark for it, but I went there so often that it actually became faster for me to type the URL. His server, which was in his home, apparently died around the same time he did, but there is an authorized mirror available.

Bill Whittle described USS Clueless as the internet’s Krell Mind Machine, and that was an apt description. His long-form writing was well-researched, well-thought-out, and left you better informed, even if you weren’t actually smarter, for having read it. He was an engineer, and his posts on engineering topics, particularly things like alternative energy, were and are worthwhile references. His posts on politics earned him a position in “the Four Horsemen of the ABlogalypse.”

He retired USS Clueless in 2004, because he suffered from a genetically-caused degenerative disease, and the medications he took to allow him to do the in-depth posts became too much for him to want to handle, not to mention that his emails were filled with attacks and nitpicking, which became discouraging.

He continued blogging, but limited himself to anime, personal topics, and the occasional topical post. Chizumatic was never a regular stop for me, but it was a pleasant diversion on those occasions that I went there.

There are many tributes to him that have been posted already, and I’m sure more will be posted in the next days. There is a roundup post here that covers all the ones I’d found myself, and then some.

Farewell, Steven. I’m sorry you’re gone, and I hope you’re feeling better.

UPDATE: Steven talked about whether he’d made an impact here. Given the responses to his death, I feel confident in saying that he did, even apart from his engineering work.

Found a new blog

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Well, it’s new to me, at least. Via Gerard Vanderleun.

Here is his post on why he moved from the political left to the political right. I’ve read several of these from different people, and they’re all interesting. The key paragraph for me was this:

This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist. These considerations are detailed in “The Ultimate Guide to Cultural Marxist Genocide.” I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct (see “The Shakers, Deathwish Values, and Autonomy“). This is what is currently happening to all the ancient people’s of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

He also has a good post about the push to declare sexual differences to be “social constructs.” He’s responding to someone else who lists a number of abnormal conditions as reasons to discard the normal. Again, there is a paragraph I find key:

The problem is that biology does not work on this essentialist basis; it works on the basis of function/malfunction, normal/abnormal. The real lesson to draw from examples such as those presented by EvoX is that sex is a functional biological norm, and individuals can deviate from this norm in many different ways. “Biologically normal” means working as designed by natural selection, or being in the condition it is supposed to be in, where “design” and “supposed to” means that the item is in the condition its ancestors were in on those occasions where they actually were selected for by natural selection. I will use “design” and “supposed to” since they are more intuitive to grasp and easier than writing out “as happened historically when the mechanism was selected for” each time.

I’m looking forward to spending more time reading what he’s got on the site.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2016

As I have done before, I’m posting two things for Memorial Day. The first is a poem that Robert Service wrote after World War I:

PILGRIMS

For oh, when the war will be over
We’’ll go and we’’ll look for our dead;
We’’ll go when the bee’’s on the clover,
And the plume of the poppy is red:
We’’ll go when the year’’s at its gayest,
When meadows are laughing with flow’’rs;
And there where the crosses are greyest,
We’’ll seek for the cross that is ours.

For they cry to us: Friends, we are lonely,
A-weary the night and the day;
But come in the blossom-time only,
Come when our graves will be gay:
When daffodils all are a-blowing,
And larks are a-thrilling the skies,
Oh, come with the hearts of you glowing,
And the joy of the Spring in your eyes.

But never, oh, never come sighing,
For ours was the Splendid Release;
And oh, but ’’twas joy in the dying
To know we were winning you Peace!
So come when the valleys are sheening,
And fledged with the promise of grain;
And here where our graves will be greening,
Just smile and be happy again
.

And so, when the war will be over,
We’’ll seek for the Wonderful One;
And maiden will look for her lover,
And mother will look for her son;
And there will be end to our grieving,
And gladness will gleam over loss,
As – glory beyond all believing!
We point …… to a name on a cross.

The second is a link to remind you of those who gave their all for their country, and some of the others that it affects:

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

Boycott in progress

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

In relation to Sad Puppies, a boycott of Tor Books has been called for, due to the statements and actions of various people in charge at Tor.

I am not a sad puppy, but I am in sympathy with their position and their aims. I don’t buy as many books as I used to, but I have accumulated quite a library over the years, and Tor books make up a non-negligible portion of my library. One action that has been requested is for everyone who plans to participate in the boycott to submit a photograph of their Tor books. Mine is below. It only shows the books that were on the bookshelves in the house, however. I have more books than I can keep handy, so about half of my library is in boxes in the garage. There are about 85 Tor books shown stacked on the floor, and my books database tells me that I have about 50 more in the garage. Several years ago, I gave my daughter a few hundred books, and I’ve no idea how many Tor books may have been among them.

I also have two dozen or so Tor ebooks.

I won’t be acquiring any more, though. Tor gives every impression of having a corporate culture that despises anyone who isn’t wholly on board with the left-wing causes of the day, and is more than willing to demonize them. As that applies to me, since they despise me, I’ll not force them to associate with me any longer.

Some of the books published by Tor in my collection.

Some of the books published by Tor in my collection.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Remember, when you think of those who gave their all for their country:

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

Happy Independence Day

Friday, July 4th, 2014

As I sit here and listen to my neighbor’s children setting off fireworks, in addition to the larger (and louder) fireworks being set off outside my neighborhood, I’m torn.

On the one hand, I dislike the fact that I’m going to be getting less sleep tonight than I’d like because of the noise. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that there are people who are willing to defy the local municipalities who outlaw everything but sparklers. On the gripping hand, I have to realize that most of these people are idiots who are defying the law because of a desire to play with explosives, not out of principle.

Then again, maybe I’m over-thinking things. Take your freedoms where you find them, people. The freedom to be obnoxious and foolish is necessary. As C. S. Lewis said in his book, God in the Dock: Essays on Modern Theology:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Forget?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Hell, no! I’m not going to forget. I was at work when I heard the news. I thought the first plane hitting was a tragic accident, but when the second plane hit, I knew that it was an act of war, and told my coworkers that. I went home, and brought back a small television, which we kept returning to the rest of the day.

I remember seeing the footage of Muslims (Palestinians, IIRC) passing out candy to children and dancing in the streets in celebration. I remember not being able to contact my father, who, although retired, still went to the Pentagon daily, until four days later.

Sarah Hoyt remembers, too.

It’s possible that the president remembers, but it apparently doesn’t have the same meaning for him. Decorum seems to be an area that some Democrats need to work on, also.

This isn’t directly related to 9/11, but it’s another indication of the respect that the Democrats have for the military, and would be the sort of story that the media would beat to death had it been the Republicans who had done it.

Remember the events of the day, the fallen and the heroes. Respect them, and resolve to learn from them.

Blogger Day of Silence

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Ace called for today to be a Day of Silence. Given my infrequent postings, I don’t know how anyone could tell whether or not I’m participating.

In any case, the purpose is to highlight the actions of Brett Kimberlin and his associates, and to call on Congress to take action to prevent the suppression of free speech intended by these actions.

Just to make it clear, I’m joining the effort.

For Veteran’s Day

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I’ve posted this before (not on Veteran’s Day), but it’s worth posting again:

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

I’ve been corrected

Friday, November 4th, 2011

A couple of years ago, I reminisced about the early days of personal computing.

Yesterday, a comment showed up on that post, pointing out that one of my memories wasn’t accurate, from the pioneer in the field who was involved.

Nice.