I’m sitting here this morning getting ready to go to work (and being truly appalled at the amount of housework I didn’t get to last night, when I was a little frazzled, and dicked around instead)… when I come across this post over at A Step At a Time. Native languages are going away in Russia.

No surprise, really. Russia and China both play a double game of trying to force assimilation, just like the U.S. did in the 19th century… only, as usual, neither country is honest enough to admit it, let alone admit, like we did, that doing so was a mistake. I’ve heard stories of folks doing museum work in Kazan desperately trying to preserve their heritage while simultaneously doing everything possible to hide the face of what they’re doing, lest they come to unwanted attention and literally get their museum shut down. And, yes, both countries are still that bad. This sort of thing is unfortunately not at all uncommon.
So I listened to this Koryak song, and another one that’s Selkup. Besides maybe-actually recognizing the word “bird” in the latter, I could have fallen out of my chair. Both of them have rhythms that just say “home.” Though, fair warning: the Koryak song is sort of dreamy… the Selkup song is an outright lament, and paced as such. You’re going to get funny looks if you play it at work.

And there’s pretty much not dick anybody here can do about it, besides simply bring it to folks’ attention, and, if you happen to know one of these folks… learn a poem or a song…

Ancient Warrior Kitty

My wife’s new nickname for Rudy:dscn3657.JPG

Don’t mess with the old man.


Is somebody gonna get shot?

I’ve got three or four police dragonflies over my neighborhood right now.  They’re not saying on the news what it is, but it’s obviously No Good(tm).

Iobagiones Castri

(just blowing steam here, guys)

are equipped with sabres?

Why, damn you, why? What power in 11th-and-12th-century Europe equipped rabble with swords? Was Hungary just that rich? And if they weren’t nobles, and they weren’t serfs… were they not rabble, therefore? But, in this case, why didn’t they have horses? Or, if they did, why didn’t they fight on them?

And if archers are supposed to hold ground, why are they not being equipped with spears for the purpose? You don’t *hold ground* with a sword… you go hack the guy’s legs off with it!

Argh. There are times when Hungary’s appalling lack of written primary source material just chaps my butt.

It’s not like they were some fourth-rate backwater like England, barely able to take on the Welsh and Scots without the aid of logistical and military geniuses… these guys regularly go head to head with the **HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE**, fight off the Cumans on a fortnightly basis…. you know, the Cumans? The guys who single-handedly crush the 4th crusade? And they’re constantly intervening in the Kievan succession, and were a pain in Byzantium’s royal ass. So we know they weren’t morons, or they’d have gone the way of the Avars. But noooo, they had to hang out in the rough neighborhood, the one where the Mongols and the Ottomans show up… so no poncy elaborate Rolls for me, thank you very much….


Artificial organs coming…

they’ve got the tooth hack for mice already.

I want a functional appendix.

Now I understand “24.”

It’s how liberals run the war on terror.

“You mean it’s all about finding him?  Josh is secondary?”

(Said by attractive woman who just sold out protagonists to be killed while they’re looking for the guys with more nuclear bombs than the one that went off in LA this morning.)


Real-world response:  “Yes, you stupid bitch, your son’s life is secondary to finding the nukes and saving hundreds of thousands of people from turning into an aerosol on the front of a pressure wave.”

Who’s writing this show, Code Pink?

No Xingyi this morning…

Sitting in a silly computer training…. and I have to admit that I now understand why.  It’s easy to forget how widely computer skills vary…

So, not only will we have gerbils in space

but we’ll be generating power from their little bitty movements?

Speculist on Tetlock on “Why Politics Makes People Dumb”

It’s a race between the Foxes, who know many things, and the Hedgehogs, who know “one important thing.”  Of course, the problem is that foxes are terrible at long-range analysis, and Hedgehogs frequently know one WRONG thing.

And the Hedgehogs seem to predominate.  For example, as one commenter provides, the political liberal who sees everything military through one particular view of the Vietnam War.  Or, on the conservative side, the dude who sees a black helicopter behind each and every new use of federal power.  (Yes, I know: currently, the liberals are showcasing, rather than being embarrassed by, their nutjobs.  This is a temporary phenomenon suggesting that there’s a move afoot for a political realignment.)

It’s not simply one’s “lens,” or inherent bias, but how one derives one’s worldview as well.

The trick, of course, is to be a “fodgehog,” constantly DERIVING (not “supporting!”  Bad!  That’s hedgehog thinking!) one’s big notions via an array of widely-collected facts.

Which raises another question:  is that my bias as a particular kind of historian speaking?  I have an excellent predictive track record (to the point that I tend to be the go-to guy for folks trying to make sense of things).  But the “fodgehog” idea suggests a strong methodological bias towards synthesis.  As my twin can vouch, synthesis is really good for what I do… not so good for learning calculus.

Official: Mahdi Militia, um, what’s that word? Oh, yes. “Fucked.”

Two big ones I missed in today’s news.  Blow off the Norks yet, we don’t know if they’ll keep even half their word… both blogged at Captain’s Quarters while I was grading, both dealing with Iran:

Item #1.   Moqtada al-Sadr has fled to Iran.  Senior Mahdi Militia may be there… but that means the goons on the ground have lost their political cover.

Item #2.  About 100 Steyr HS-50s (a gun I’d love to have, btw, just as soon as I get a Class III license and a lottery ticket), have been found amongst Iraqi insurgents… and tracked to Iran … aka, to quote Bill Hicks, “we looked on the receipt.”

I had a hard day… but it’s nice to end it on an up note.

Is it just me? (“24”)

Or are all of the “good guys” on this show solipsists, cowards, and morons?

Meat without Moo, Leather without Cow

Our Dark Future, Indeed.


UPDATE! I think I’ve figured out why they’re doing this! Oh, that’s just so, so wrong

There’s Hope

I successfully graded a test during the office hours directly following said test.

This is a good sign, in a semester that has been dramatically more difficult than expected.

I’m not supposed to like Gov. Rick Perry

And the whining leftists will bleat, but everybody agrees that wiping out polio was a no-brainer, even if the guys making the vaccine made a killing.

Well, they made a killing.  Good for them.   Ever seen a polio victim?  No?  Guess why?   I have, by the way, and the damage is truly appalling.

So, on the cervical cancer/papilloma virus issue, for Governor Perry to step out and say “this is going to be mandatory” gets a lot of respect from me.  Since the leftists will crucify him on “the Merck angle,” and the dipshits on the other side of the aisle who can’t tell the difference between public medicine and bad parenting are losing their minds over how this will “promote promiscuity.”

I’m not supposed to like Perry.  He’s the voice of the machine here in Texas.  But he’s right.

You know what?  I’ve had more than one sex partner.  I could be carrying the papilloma virus right now… and since I’m male, I’ll never know without some kind of test.  So why wouldn’t I want to know that I’m not accidentally getting ready to kill my wife tonight in bed?

Moscow, Beijing hell-bent for irrelevance.

As noted in StrategyPage

China has shown a preference for tyrants and police states, and is eager to get access to key raw materials (rare metals and oil). China does not care about criticism, and has no guilt about helping to prop up dictatorships.

and Eurasia Daily Monitor,

Putin himself has acknowledged the distorting effect of energy exports on the national economy and urged businessmen and government officials to find ways to increase development in Russia’s high-technology sectors that will manufacture products that can compete in the global economy.

Beijing and Moscow are still setting themselves up for a Mercantilist future, and depending on exports for an economy, rather than a sustained increase of the domestic markets.  Russia is the biggest sinner in this, but China’s dependence on African raw materials, and how they’re going about getting them, is a clear sign.

Trick is… mercantilism has had its day… in the 18th century.  It was shunted aside in favor of capitalism, and “contemporary reformed capitalism with certain socialist/regulated characteristics” because the latter simply work better.

This does not bode well for either power, and not merely in relation to the U.S.  If Iran shrugs off the nutjobs, it’s positioned to become a prime player almost overnight, and Iranians are great for business.  India as well has both the cleverness, the growth, and, now, the “BBB-” investment-grade credit rating (hat tip:  Samizdata), to mark them as a serious player.

No amount of state-regulated export economics can compete against that over the long haul.

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