Third Reich: The Rise, and Fall

SkyHarbor, 2011/07/31 

(all 12 parts [sans advertising] are available at YouTube)

OK… enough happy news…

This outstanding 4 hour presentation by The History Channel details the story of Germany’s Third Reich, as shown in informal ‘home movies’ taken and letters written mostly by German citizens themselves… as they followed their Führer first to seeming prosperity and then to utter catastrophe and shame…

The title is of course is a small variation on William Shirer’s definitive “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”… and tells very much the same story, but here with a personal angle I’ve not seen in any previous documentaries… It’s very effective I think in showing how the German psyche (which has shown a notable predisposition toward the ‘Führerprinzip’) was manipulated into committing unspeakable crimes and came to ultimate total and abject ruin. Somehow, as told by ordinary Germans, the story becomes all the more chilling…

As one astute American visitor to pre-war Berlin observes in the film after witnessing a Nazi rally: “These people are insane.” Can an entire nation become pathological? In the case of the Third Reich (or North Korea or Cambodia or Rwanda or Darfur or…), the answer is a resounding YES.

This is perhaps THE cautionary tale of ALL cautionary tales, and whenever the Far Right raises its ugly head here in America (or Norway or Britain or elsewhere), I think a stark reminder of just where that road leads is well in order… And to anyone who complacently thinks “It can’t happen here”, I warn them to THINK AGAIN.

I wish I’d coined the phrase “History may not repeat itself, but it sure does RHYME!”

Humpback whale saved by humans…

SkyHarbor, 2011/07/30 

I thought a happy story might be nice for a change… I happened to catch a short version of the story on the news and thought I’d pass it along. The whale, nicknamed ‘Valentina’, was clearly very appreciative of the humans’ efforts! :-)

Talk of the Nation: Juno Goes to Jupiter

Cat eyes,  

This was an NPR broadcast. I love the title. I wish all our headlines regarding the “talk” of the nation could be more like this.

Of Course They’re Going To Pull The Trigger.

byronius, 2011/07/29 

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There’s so much to comment on from this clip, but what really struck me about this report on Boehner’s visible loss of control over the Tea Party idiots in his party is that the teabaggers, as an act of aggression against him, started praying. Being from Texas, I’m really familiar with praying as a form of passive aggressive emotional warfare, but even I was mildly surprised to see a bunch of grown men doing it to other grown men who they claim to be on the same team as. As a psychological weapon, it’s really grown past the pinched mouth “i’ll pray for you” disapprovals I grew up witnessing.

I think this whole situation should put to rest all the hand-wringing about what the “Tea Party” is. Whatever diverse shit people are saying on the ground, people who are taking leadership roles are religious fanatics with very small minds who would rather burn this country down to the ground rather than share power with the kind of folks who would vote for Barack Obama. Or, to put it another way, the teabagger relationship to the country is like a wife-beater to his wife: what they call “love” is actually a desire to exert control and complete ownership. And now the wife-country has run off with a handsome and charming black man.

Of course they’re going to pull the trigger.


‘Enterprise’… a proud history!

SkyHarbor, 2011/07/28 

HMS Enterprize

One of the more inspirational moments from the TV series “Star Trek: Enterprise” is from the opening title credits, where a sequence of versions of HMS/USS Enterprise craft are portrayed, showng us an ongoing TRAJECTORY from the ‘big pond’ to the STARS… to the strains of “It’s been a long time… getting from there to here!”

This reinforces (for me) the fact that we are indeed explorers! And also that we’re usually rather heavily armed! (ie: don’f fuck with me!) ;-}

I think Gene Roddenberry would be very PROUD!

I hope we keep on naming our ships ‘Enterprise’ as we continue to take our first very tentative (wading really) voyages into the REAL ocean…

read more…

Let ‘Em Hear It.

byronius, 2011/07/26 

Randi Rhodes said it’s time to do the Citizen Thing, and let them know that the Crazy Circus has to shut down.

The idea that Republicans are not WHOLLY RESPONSIBLE for EVERY PENNY OF THE CURRENT NATIONAL DEBT is ASTOUNDINGLY FALSE, and their use of this issue to make into law every criminally psychotic fantasy they’ve ever had is a statement of civil war upon the nation.

I sent four emails, and I found the links here. Took me ten minutes. Felt good.

Do this thing.

Human-Animal Hybrids.

byronius, 2011/07/25 

Proof that it’s been done. Truly frightening. When will technology cease bringing new horrors upon us? I blame the multicultural hippies.

His own personal Götterdämmerung…

SkyHarbor, 2011/07/24 

This is the video manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing Christian extremist who on Friday apparently detonated a bomb in downtown Oslo, killing 7 and injuring dozens, and then went to the small island of Utoya dressed as a police officer and proceeded to brutally mow down some 86 kids attending a Labor Party summer camp…

According to Norwegian authorities, Breivik has calmly confessed to his horrendous crimes. Apparently, this guy fancied himself some sort of crusading teutonic Templar knight, an ultra-nationalist bent on ‘destroying multi-culturalism’ and ‘restoring Christendom’ to Europe… by starting the Nordic version of Armageddon… Sound vaguely familiar?

While even in the U.S. this sort of despicable act would be shocking, to peaceful and orderly Norway this is nothing short of a cataclysm!

I offer, and I’m sure we all offer what small condolence we can to the families and friends of the innocent slain and injured, and indeed to all the good people of Norway, who while famous for their stoicism, are today engulfed in grief and tears… but who to their credit remain unpanicked and unbowed.

read more…

Hail and Farewell, Atlantis!

SkyHarbor, 2011/07/21 

Well that, as they say, is THAT. The space shuttle program is OVER… The U.S. now officially has NO manned boost-to-orbit capability… NASA tried to put a brave face on it as Atlantis rolled to a halt, but for the foreseeable future, we must rent-a-ride on the Russian Soyuz if Americans wish to go to space! How messed up is THAT?

Beam Me Up, Baby.

byronius, 2011/07/20 


Quantum theory gets physical
New work finds physical basis for quantum mechanics
By Devin Powell Web edition : Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Giulio Chiribella, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues based their approach on a postulate called “purification.” A system with uncertain properties (a “mixed state”) is always part of a larger “pure state” that can, in principle, be completely known, the team proposes in the July Physical Review A.

Consider the pion. This particle, which has a spin of zero, can decay into two spinning photons. Each single photon is in a mixed state – it has an equal chance of spinning up or down. The pair of photons together, though, comprise a pure state in which they must always spin in opposite directions.

This purification principle requires the quantum phenomenon known as entanglement, which connects the parts to the whole. It also explains why quantum information can’t be copied without destroying it but can be “teleported” — replicated at a distant location after being destroyed at its point of origin.

Building on this principle, Chiribella and colleagues reproduced the mathematical structure of quantum mechanics with the aid of five additional axioms related to information processing. Their axioms include causality, the idea that a measurement now can’t be influenced by future measurements, and “ideal compression,” meaning that information can be encoded in a physical system and then decoded without error. Other axioms involve the ability to distinguish states from each other and the ability of measurements to create pure states.

You know where this is going. Yes you do.

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