Where There's A William

there's always aweigh

Archive for the month “October, 2007”

These are some of life’s favorite things

Just an ordinary day at the shooting range.

Now do you want to come along?

Via Steven Den Beste. Who offers additional linkage for your viewing pleasure.

Whew, what a relief!

I’m so glad that’s over with. The whole issue was becoming quite heated, you know.

{Snicker. Did you see the funny there?}

Personally, given the almost total lack of sunspot activity in recent months, I’ve been looking around Texas for any likely winter sport locales. I have to say that there are a real dearth of ski-able slopes in this state. Langlaufen of course, and biathelon-type events should be natural options.

Although, Lake Towakani ought to offer some real ice boating challenges, I think. Broad, shallow water reaches with numerous tree stump stick-ups to add spice to the event. Particularly in the early years, when you’ll never quite be certain of the weather or how deep the ice really is.

There’s always something to look forward to, you know? Especially now that that whole “doomsday” thing is over with.

Thanks Al Fin!

Maskarovka

An article in this past Thursday’s International Herald Tribune has many of the earmarks of the deliberate mis-information campaign that accompanies an intelligence maskarovka (mask) effort.

This quote from the IHT encapsulates the situation well:

“Two photos, taken Wednesday from space by rival companies, show the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.

The Syrians reported an attack by Israel in early September; the Israelis have not confirmed that. Senior Syrian officials continue to deny that a nuclear reactor was under construction, insisting that Israel hit a largely empty military warehouse.

But the images, federal and private analysts say, suggest that the Syrian authorities rushed to dismantle the facility after the strike, calling it a tacit admission of guilt.

“It’s a magic act — here today, gone tomorrow,” a senior intelligence official said. “It doesn’t lower suspicions; it raises them. This was not a long-term decommissioning of a building, which can take a year. It was speedy. It’s incredible that they could have gone to that effort to make something go away.”

In fact, the photos show that the structure is no longer visible to the usual visual spectrum, not that the building has been dismantled – which is the unstated suggestion the reader is left with. In fact, I question whether the “senior intelligence official” is being quoted in context. Read another way, his/her statement could equally mean that an extraordinary effort was entailed by the Syrians to create the photographic effect.

This quote from James Cirincone clearly makes the effort to place the existence of the structure into the past tense:

“It’s clearly very suspicious,” said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The Syrians were up to something that they clearly didn’t want the world to know about.”

As does this quote from one David Albright:

“It looks like Syria is trying to hide something and destroy the evidence of some activity,” Albright said in an interview. “But it won’t work. Syria has got to answer questions about what it was doing.”

This is not to say that either of these two men, or the authors of this article, are intentionally cooperating in a deception effort on the part of the Syrian government. The fact remains that a close examination of the two photos provided, using only the naked human eye, shows that multiple changes have occurred at the site pictured in addition to the apparent disappearance of the central building.

Earthen ramps appear to have been built up on the three sides of the main structure that don’t face the abrupt cliff.

A new structure has gone up interrupting the apparent foot path leading into the cliff face (beginning from the lower-right quadrant of the picture).

It seems likely to me (based upon this admittedly skimpy “evidence”) that a covering material has been erected over the building, that the material is anchored around the edges by/to the earthen ramps and that a ventilation or similar tower structure has had to remain exposed outside the material (the small square form visible in the r/h picture consistent with the upper-left corner of the large building in the l/h photo).

Nothing can be decided from such information/speculation as offered here. What does seem clear though is that whatever questions existed on August 10th remain unanswered today. In fact, the obvious changes in the site pose additional questions that should only add urgency to efforts seeking satisfactory answers.

I discovered something interesting about the maskarovka technique itself. Sort of. I attempted to research the topic to add greater depth to this post. I discovered that Google, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica and the CIA provide “no result” to queries into the subject, beyond some few references to other’s use of the word. I admit my google-fu sucks for the most part, but I put extensive (a couple of hours or so) effort into building differing search strings
on those sites. I won’t come right out and declare that they’ve never heard of the concept, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, but I would be interested to learn what other, better capable users can come up with.

As for the IHT article itself, I think it mystifies more than clarifies the issue(s) and interests involved. Despite Israel’s proximity to the locale and it’s recent “alleged” activities in the immediate area, I feel certain that many others, and much more, is involved then that simplistic storyline would allow. Strategic science recognises that the calculation of interests involved in a circumstance can be numbered linearly, but their interactions accumulate exponentially as a factor of that numeric growth. In other words, the more players there are, the more opportunities exist for them to make trouble. You know, multi-tasking and all that.

Via James Hudnall, who seems more ready to believe then I am.

The End Is Nigh …

You will understand, I hope, if I don’t hold my breath waiting for it to actually get here.

The Sophisticates

This is how the intellectual elites of Europe fling faeces at each other.

“Things have gotten so bad in the Netherlands that even French intellectuals are now accusing us of “unacceptable cowardice” because of the way Ayaan Hirsi Ali was treated recently.”

The elegant flourish of modulated nuance on display here is truely awe inspiring. I now understand why George W. Bush is regarded so lightly from these quarters. There’s just no way that direct and honest declarative statement can compare.

Via Instapundit, who grabbed the John Cusack line right off.

Advice; it’s worth what you pay for it

I wrote what follows as a comment here. Upon reflection, I wish I’d had opportunity to proffer the same to my own son at the same point of growth in his life. Daughter wasn’t having any in her time, and she turned out well enough, so grain of salt and all that.

“Let me try a different tack on this and confirm for you “Jay” that you are indeed “all grown up”. Next comes the really hard part, filling out into a fully developed man as well. You’ve probably heard the aphorism’s, having the tools but not knowing what to do with them and the like.

Dbltap, Dr. T and Mike of the Dueling Pistols all offer excellent advice. I would specifically suggest that you spend the next two years concentrating on four activities; establishing your professional credentials, creating your personalised living space, maximising your physiological development and, finally, becoming as well above average as you are capable of in some mixed gender activity (dancing being the classic choice, but music/singing is a good alternative if you have the basic qualities required). Most importantly of all, stop looking for “female action” – no offense stud, but you really don’t know what to do with it yet or, more importantly, to protect yourself from what else often travels with it. Not just the usual Tab “A” into Slot “B” and cooties worries, serious as they are, but the diversion of your efforts away from developing you and toward supporting her. It sounds a little cold-hearted at times, but the only person in this entire universe you absolutely have to live with is yourself. The more comfortable you are with being him, the more likely you will be attractive to women.

A final note of encouragement; towards the later portion of this period, you’ll notice different attempts by women to attract your attention to them. Enjoy it for what it is, but don’t go crazy – there are any number of “right” women for you depending upon what stage of life you are at. Take the time to check out which of the women actually available to you (sadly, movie-starlet-of-your-choice probably isn’t going to be one of them. I know. Man Up, as the lady advises.) and also seems to be headed the same direction you want to go. I have confidence you’ll be able to take things from there with no more then the usual problems that come with the complete and utter destruction of the life you’ve worked so hard to establish all these years.

So, get a job and get good at it, make your own place to live, join a gym and try out a wide variety of “guy things” and, very important, learn an activity that women want to interact with you at. You might want to consider investing in some subtle crowd management skills toward the end too.

Oh, and resist the whole Casanova thing – it has it’s own down side … you don’t even want to know, trust me.”

More sincere words were never authored; their veracity is pending independent confirmation.

YMMV and all that.

What’s excessive?

Yesterday evening, while I was at work, Instapundit posted a follow-up piece on the actuality vs our perception of the failings of government. Prof. Reynolds provides an example from his academic history that employs a trivial-seeming incident to illustrate a systemic problem. He stops short of promulgating any corrective action however. Do you remember that old saying about wise men and fools? Something about daring to tread?

Watch this!

The problem is essentially unresolvable working within the existing governmental structure. There is no incentive to alter the present arrangement for those who are direct beneficiaries of public largess and a positive dis-incentive to dismantle the arrangement for those who achieve their social/political goals through it’s exercise.

The US government’s appearance of malfeasance stems from the discord between the ringing phrases used to announce it’s arrival on the international scene and the reservations it simultaneously imposed to determine which of it’s then-newly declared citizens actually exercised electoral control over it.

Without attempting to rehash the arguments of each restriction, sufficient to say that the very presence of restrictions virtually guaranteed their abuse by someone at some point in the ordinary course of events. That being the case, the choice then comes down to either jacking up the penalty for being abusive (which has it’s own limits and degradations of social order – see our present Drug War, for example), or removing the restriction entirely from the political equation. Since this is the option our intervening forebears have chosen, it falls to us to make their selection function in some semblance of the original proposal.

You know, the US Constitution?

The problem is fundamentally one of structure. Our national political edifice was never intended to extend nearly so broadly into state and local affairs as it has come to do. That it does so is at least in part the result of the lack of a commensurate alteration of the executive authority the original structure put in place.

By restricting the franchise to those who had a vested interest in limiting the actions of the elected, the Constitutional framers sought to create a stable dynamic balance between the competing interests within our national society. The subsequent removal of the restrictions to franchise, without altering the executive arrangement as well, created the appearance of executive excessiveness much in the current political news. Which authority isn’t actually excessive, only lacking the intended restrictive balance originally provided.

While I enjoy discussion of the US Constitution, I recognise that the process is essentially pointless beyond the furtherance of my and others personal education. Whatever resemblance there may be between the Constitution itself and the present day government it is said to empower resides solely in our conscious effort to maintain that illusion. I knowingly contribute to that maintenance mostly because the alternative is so friggin’ scary. I’ve been in country’s that no longer exist. I’m willing to do, or at least put up with, some pretty unpleasant things to avoid such an eventuality in my own.

But not anything. Which is another topic for another day.

The bad with the good

I’m a fan of Keith Laumer’s (and others) series of BOLO stories, but the journey from here to there is never as smooth as one’s memory would have it years later. Witness yet another innovation along the bumpy path to autonomous machines. It can’t all be feel-good DARPA-type challenges, can it?

Via Instapundit, who fails to note the BOLO connection this time. Really bad strategy that.

I’m not crazy enough yet

Want to see something that will amaze you? Go here and click “play”.

Perspective

Kim du Toit, in a post dated yesterday, provides an entertaining but disturbing look at America and how we do business. Following the link to his defense of the three martini lunch is rewarding too.

I realise that our country’s having been founded by religious extremists and the victims of same had an early impact on our course of development. I’m not convinced that accounts for the result Kim laments now, though. Human psychology is too complex and adaptive for that to be the case, I think.

Americans are acknowledged to be astonishingly productive in their labors; I wonder if we quite understand what else we are giving up in the course of being so provident. I think most adults realise that life is a series of compromises between what is desirable and what is available. I confess I do not understand why that seems to so anger us as a society.

Post Navigation