The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: December 2009

Don’t Wiki me!

I like Wikipedia.  I really do.

There is something kind of neat about an encyclopedia that the “People” have some control over and can edit.  You might call it a “Leuteenzyklopädie” of sorts, if you will.

This is a tool in which people from all over the world can create, edit or dispute articles and use the provided information in the same way that you would any other encyclopedia.  There is a caveat, however, and that is what I have decided to write this piece about.

The problem lies in the fact that it IS a “open source” encyclopedia.  As such, you should use the information that you get from Wikipedia with the understanding that you should accept it as information that you would want to double-check or verify before accepting it as the gospel truth.

Now… I say that with no malice towards those that run or administer Wiki or Wiki itself.  I say that with the understanding that because of the nature of the system, it is possible for people to get in there and add information that is not quite correct or a flat out lie and this information being distributed before anyone has had the chance to edit, correct or delete it.

I will not go through and list all the examples that I found links to for the various errors that were posted to Wiki over the years.  Most of them Wiki was already made aware of and have corrected.  I will, however, direct you to the official Wikipedia links for how they approach that which I am discussing here.  I will list them at the end of this article.

The main point here is that the old standard applies the same now as it always has.  Verify your sources… do not just rely on one source, such as Wikipedia.

Use it, but do so with the understanding that people just like you and me have the access to go in and add and edit information on that service.  People that may or may not know enough to intelligently write about the topic in question.

Just remember… “Caveat Lector”

 

 

Links to Wikipedia’s policies on Reliability and Criticism.

 

 

 

Mr. Obama’s statement regarding the Christmas day Terrorism Attempt

I just listened to Mr. Obama’s statement regarding the attempted terror attack.

Funny… without digging up the recording from George Bush and going strictly from memory, does his goal not sound similar to both George Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s resolve to flush out and hunt down the people who perpetrated both the 1993 WTC terror attack and the 9/11 terror attack?

Hmmm…

Just sayin’.

Mr. Obama… you do NOT speak for me…

Mr. Obama…  You have spent a great deal of time throughout the first year of your duties as the alleged “Commander in Chief” visiting countries and throwing us, the United States, on the sword for whoever would listen.  But I have a few things I would like to share with you and anyone that cares to read this.

My “Am Not’s” and “Do Not’s”.

I am not sorry that we used “persuasive” measures to obtain information from combatants and non-combatant sympathizers during times of conflict (war or police action) in which the lives of other Americans and the lives of our allies is at risk.

I am not sorry that we went into the European and Pacific theaters in World War II and kicked ass.  There are many men and women, Americans and otherwise, that were injured or gave their lives to protect what we were fighting for.  Imagine what would have happened if we had chosen to sit it out? I am sure that even you, Mr. Obama, would agree with me, so do not presume to apologize for what they did with honor.

I am not sorry about what you refer to as American arrogance; I think perhaps you might be thinking, instead of our PRIDE, while some would suggest that this is a “deadly sin”, I disagree. We are a truly great country, capable of great things and have accomplished great thing in spite of what you are trying to do to it and what you are trying to educate us and others regarding it.

I do not apologize for those faults that we DO have.  Ever person, every country and every culture has faults, what we learn from those faults are what make us better people.  Every mistake makes us stronger and smarter and more prepared for our next challenge.  It is not your place to travel the world, advertising our failures and apologizing for them.

I do not apologize for my personal stance against those that practice Radical Islam… a stance that I share with many people, even friends of mine that are also Muslim and do not support the efforts of these radicals that give other Muslims and practitioners of Islam a bad name and make life hard on them. <Link> There are enough other reasons out there to hate one another and while I will admit that the Radical Islamic movement has me concerned, I work each day to know that there is a difference between the two.

I do not apologize for America “Dictating Terms” when we have been asked to go in and help in countries that have asked for our help or in cases where we have gone in and provided assistance even when we were not asked but the situation required intervention on our part.  Terms control what happens after the troops and diplomats have gone home, they are a way of making sure that we were not wasting our efforts.

I do not apologize for slavery…  I’ve never owned a slave nor have I ever had a desire to do so… though I would like to hire a house-keeper to come in once or twice a month.  Yes, slavery was a black mark in our history, but it is nothing new and certainly nothing strictly Euro/American.  In fact, you will find that the black slave trade was in effect IN Africa itself before the white man started exploiting it.  There are still stories of people being sold into servitude in that country to this day.  Does that make the Euro/American participation right? Of course not! But I will not apologize for that which I had no control over, nor should you, on my behalf.

I am not sorry for the United States’ policies towards other countries in the Americas.  We are a sovereign nation; we have the right to protect our borders and to make sure that our neighbors are not acting in ways that cause harm to this great nation.  This requires us to take a strong stance to defend our borders and our policies against those that would do wrong by us.  Mexico cannot and appears unwilling to even try to keep their own people and illegal drugs from crossing into our country, yet if we try to stop it, those that are trained and assigned to do the job are taken to task for it, just look at Officers Ramos and Compean.

We treat countries with respect when they act in such a way that deserves it.  When dignitaries like President Calderon of Mexico and “President” Chavez of Venezuela, among others, start acting like they respect the policies and sovereignty of the United States… THEN, we can begin to ease our policies towards them.

 

 

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all of you out there that celebrate it, a Merry Christmas.

It has been a tough year and I hope this holiday… no… this CHRISTMAS season finds you well and healthy.

Curse your car!

What is it with these people that put stickers on their cars that have curses on them?  Do people think that this is cute or make them seem “rebellious”?

While I will not contest the legality of doing this, since it appears that in these cases the First Amendment overrides state and local laws that have attempted to curb this trend, as is pointed out in great detail on the site First Amendment Center.

That being said, I still have to complain about it myself because of the way I was raised.  People just do not swear, unnecessarily, in public.

I can understand if you are in a group of people and you smash your finger in a drawer or stub your toe.  Sometimes, especially if you curse as a regular part of your nature, these things slip out.  We have all seen situations where people have hurt themselves and words fly, often without even thinking about it.  Sometimes they are mild, like the people that say “Fiddlesticks” or the like.  Then there are people like me that have been known to utter a long string of expletives when I once, accidentally, hit my index finger with a sledge hammer.

Situations like that, while still not what I would consider “Appropriate”, are excusable.

Now… when you put a bumper sticker or ANY sticker on your car, bike, etc… you are advertising profanity only for the sake of uttering it.

As an example; the other day I saw a sticker in a car window that said “F*ck Dat”.  Obviously the “*” was not on the sticker.  To me, this is no different than walking down the sidewalk and saying the same thing to anyone that looks at you.  It is rude and, in my humble opinion, inappropriate.

Now… how this is protected under the First Amendment is beyond me.  I see the protection of free speech as protecting people’s right to stand up and protest a perceived wrong.  To speak out for or against something that needs to be changed or eliminated.  It should not be used to protect someone from putting profane language on their car or clothes only because they want to do so for no reason.

Sorry… just a mild rant.  Thanks for listening and/or commenting.

What is the point?

OK…  I do still go to McDonald’s from time to time, so you will have to excuse me for a moment while I rant about a recent decision that they, McDonald’s, has made.

I have to admit that I do like their “McSkillet” breakfast burrito and a extra large diet coke for a breakfast option, and the price really is not that bad either.  But recently there has been some changes afoot at the old McD that kinda leaves me scratching my head, and that is what they have done with their drinks.

A few weeks ago I stopped in my local McD and ordered my usual breakfast, only to be told that they had recently decided to stop carrying the extra large drink size.

This intrigued me, so I asked why they decided to do this.

The young lady at the store I always go to said that this was part of McDonald’s effort to help people start eating more sensibly.  TO help people start watching their portions and live healthier.

OK… so while the above is not a direct quote, I will attest to the fact that it was pretty much right on with what she told me, and I even thought at the time that it sounded like she was reading from a prepared statement, so I feel that McD had prepared their employs for such a question.  But I doubt she was prepared for the next questions I asked her.

1.   If that is the case, is McD also reducing the size of their burgers?

2.   Are they switching to a lower calorie mix for their ice cream and pies?

3.  Are they offering more non-beef options like more chicken, fish and/or vegetarian patties?

All of the above was answered with a couple laughs and several “No”s.  It was times like this when I am glad that I know a few of the people at the McDonald’s that I go to on a regular basis.  Otherwise I probably would have been asked to leave shortly after the second question.

So… the question that I have for McDonald’s, that only they, at the corporate level, appear to be able to answer, is Why?  I know that McDonald’s had a ongoing issue with trying to please the health conscious masses with eliminating the Super-Size meals and the drinks, then bringing the drinks back, and things like that.  You can find this info on the net almost any time you do a serious search for it.

But why are you getting rid of the extra large drinks, using the excuse that you are trying to be health conscious, when you are not doing anything about the other items on your menu that are more at guilty of being unhealthy short of pulling super-size meals from some markets?

Why are you now selling “Sweet tea” at the same time that you are eliminating the extra large cups?

If you are making ALL drink sizes $1.00, then why bother having smaller drink sizes at all?  Are there really people out there that will go in, see the new pricing and say, “Aw darn it, I am gonna get the small!  Screw conformity!”

I guess the point that I am getting to is this.  If you are going to change something in your menu in an effort to be more healthy, then there are many items you can change that make more sense than eliminating the extra large cup size from your menu.

Is there a Super-Villain in our future?

I will start this off simply enough with stating the fact that I read a lot.  Not always actually picking up a book and physically going through it, but I also hit the occasional audio-book.  My favorite topics are usually History and Science, though I have always had a great fondness for Science Fiction works as well.  Mostly I will stay with the more realistic or truly philosophical stuff, but then there are the times that I like to read the things that are really out there.  This brings me to the topic of this article.

Is there a real “Super Villain” in store for the world?

I know…  when I say super villain, people automatically get mental pictures of Dr. Doom, Magneto or Lex Luthor.  People that media has established as the archetypes for what is meant to be true evil.  Villains that seem almost indestructible, except for that one little chink in the armor that only certain people know about and they never make any attempt to protect that spot.  A good case in point is what I would like to think of as the “Death Star Flaw”.  This is the process of building an almost impervious fortress or system that has only one weakness that is usually unprotected and poorly monitored.

In reality, I do have to wonder if there is a potential for someone to take the global stage as a world-wide threat to peace.  Someone who, through the ability of either terror or power, can cause the powers of the world to stop and take notice.  Not for the sake of awe, at least not awe in the good sense, bust because suddenly this person or group exposed a weakness that no one thought about and thus never thought about protecting.  Something along those lines.

Personally I think that the potential for such a person does exist.  It really would not be that hard when you think about it.  All you would need is someone that would be able to start by befriending the powers of the world.  A person or group that would start off by being trusted by everyone, at least all the law abiding people and leaders, of the world.   This would put him, her or them in a position to infiltrate the governments of those trusting countries.

Once that has been accomplished, it would simply be a matter of those key people to make a move to either topple those governements, their leaders or expose their weakness’ to the hostile group.

Oddly enough, this almost sounds familiar, does’nt it?  Yeah…  it’s called the United Nations.

Ok… I am not saying that the UN is going to become the next global villain, but if you think about it… REALLY think about it, is it really that hard of an idea to wrap your minds around?

In reality, I think that we are closer to something along the lines of a SUper Villain that you and I might think.  These days we are so busy bickering and fighting with ourselves that I do not think we are paying close enough attention to the things that might be happening out there.  People that are slowly and quietly gathering strength in the shadows and waiting for us to be completely unprepared.

I suspect that when and if this time comes, people like Osama Bin Laden and his ilk may be the least of our worries.

Then again… I tend to go off on these mental wanderings quite often.  I would like to think of them as little philosophic field trips into my own thoughts.  I will wonder around a while, take some notes, talk with some of the locals and then sit at the PC and write what I have found out.

Think about it though… just for a moment.  If someone like me can sit here and think about things like this for the sake of mental excercizes, then there are many more out there that are perfectly capable of getting together the resources to eventually act on things like this.

I am not trying to make people paranoid, nor am I telling you to stop trusting anyone, just be “aware”.  We all need to pay attention to what happens around us and in the world.

Thanks for taking a moment to listen to my prattle.  Too much caffeine today.

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