Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well today was somewhat busy, but in an army sorta way. A popular joke amongst soldiers is that we're real good at "hurry up and wait," which is an allusion to the fact that we often rush to get things done only to wait around to do the next thing- this happens either sure to poor leadership or because of the MASSIVE amount of coordination (and difficulty that comes with it) that goes into an organization like this (our situation.) So today had a good bit of "hurry up and wait."

One of the big things that did get done was the distribution of 'miles gear' which is essentially little lasers and sensors that go over our regular gear. This, combined with blank rounds, makes our operations like laser tag with a bang- every time a weapon fires (a blank round) it shoots a laser, and if that laser his someone wearing the sensors it records as a hit. Its actually a good bit of fun when its not plagued with bugs and malfunctions.

So, getting that done amongst 70 our so people can take some time, so we ended up doing some basic lessons on driving and stuff. I got my m249 (in the picture) yesterday, and decided that I should learn the ins and outs of it. I spent several hours breaking it down and building it up again- now it can be done in under a minute.

After evening chow there ws some paperwork to do, namely a crm and prt plan, then went for a mile run, and now its time for hygiene.
All in all it was a great day. Tomorrow i'm conducting platoon level prt, and then we've got some rock drills and who knows what next. I've been thinking of some more introspective things to write about, namely the unsung struggles of the soldier; everyone always talks about the ' ultimate sacrifice' as being the big thing... But really its the very real fear that you'll come home to a cheating spouse, or that youll get the 'dear john' letter and realise you have no home to go to... I've seen it happen, I've seen lives end while I've been away, people realise theyve lost their families or been left behind by the ones they love...

Sometimes death isn't your biggest worry..
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One of the hardest, if not THE hardest problems for soldiers is people at home- and I dont mean missing them. Most civilians dont understand how when a soldier is away, their life is their new duty. Problems will come from home, and what that does is force the soldier to have two complete lives, not just one separated from another by a uniform.
Problems from home make life difficult for several reasons. More often than not there is nothing that can be done to resolve the issue, at least not immediately. A soldier constantly works- even when we aren't doing something we are waiting and preparing to do something- taking time to do bills or something else can only be done on ones personal time-about two hours every night. So, waking up at 5am and working constantly until 1900, is it really fair to take those previous hours and full then with more stress, especially unnecessary stress?
More later, duty calls!
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Morning wake up at 0530, just in time to catch the sin coming up. We've settled into the barracks for a couple days, just to get situated so we can then move out to the field. Apologies on advance for pictures that are sideways, most of these posts are from a mobile device.

Opsec dictates that I leave out specific elements and details of what we do so that information isn't compromised; this makes giving full stories difficult... I'll try though. As for now, its chow time!
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Saturday, July 9, 2011


After several hours of waiting we're now loading up on the buses to head for our flight. Early morning, people are tired after little or no sleep- but keeping ourselves enthusiastic is part of the job. Time ti take our plane and start a long day of training...
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Friday, July 8, 2011


Getting ready for a month of combat training in the desert known as wisconsin. I'd like to start making this blog more personal and impersonal in nature (i know, a conundrum) but we'll just have to see how it goes. Check in daily for images and stories of military life in the US.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back to Reality

Linked Here is a NYTimes Lens article about a photo album from the early forties, chronicling a few events that were happening at the time. Its one of those things that makes you feel real~ because you know what happened after that photo was taken, how things would end... Those are real pictures from a time before PhotoShop, before a time where I CAN create a convincing photo of my son as an astronaut~ the only thing that separates us from that moment of time is the camera, and that feeling of being so close to the tragedy and importance of the people in those photos is addictive.. I recommend it to anyone who has a minute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Do They Do It?

New pictures of Centaurus A from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 have given us an incredible view of another galaxy~ I can't help but wonder how those people who think the actions of any one person have a cosmic importance to the 'creator' of the universe can keep thinking that when seeing these pictures...

The answer is easy, really; they DON'T see the pictures. They don't understand the scale of these things, of how truly microscopic our existence really is, and how powerful this human imagination and lust for information and discovery really is. I don't think they want to.

When one begins to understand what 'cosmic' really means, how vast our universe is, and how small we are in relation, the real question for the religious should be "why would it care?" Do we take notice of that individual grain of sand somewhere in the beach? That individual grain is everything we've ever known, every human who's ever lived, every dream that's ever been dreamt.. Our entire existence is that single grain, a single drop in a cosmic ocean, and truly we never take heed to such an insignificant thing.

"but god DOES care!" they will say~ but why? What justification is there to care? Surely when you paint, you must focus on a single pigment, right? It's arrogance, not faith, that drives this notion of self importance~ It's fear, not love, that perpetuates this ignorance.

Accept the truth. Accept that we are only significant to ourselves, and not to the cosmos. Understand that when one stands at the level they prescribe to their god, that we aren't even noticeable~ we blend invisibly into the larger picture, and even that is an understatement. We toil and spend our lives doing things confined to this rock, things that will NEVER have consequence (at least for the foreseeable future) on a level as small as our solar system, let alone our galaxy~ or the hundreds of billions of galaxies outside of it. The door to our human imagination is only open once we discard these trappings of self importance, once we discontinue the inane act of observing ourselves in relation to our superstition, and begin to focus on the world around us, and the reality in which we exist~ there is so much there that I suspect there is no room for the supernatural...

When confronted with pictures of other galaxies, images of something so mind-numbingly large that we have no physical way of truly comprehending it, believing in a self-importance that extends beyond those things is truly the height of arrogance~ an arrogance disguised as pious humility.


A Dish of Irony, Anyone?

How strange it is that members of our military (of which I am one) swear an oath to defend the Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic, and yet we STILL have sectarian religion INSIDE of the military. Graduating from a course on leadership (WLC) I had 2 prayers in the graduation itself, both 'praising jesus' and making sure everyone remembered that it was THAT god that was protecting us, not our knowledge and diligence. Yes, that doesn't defeat the purpose of working hard and learning from experience~ no matter what we do, GOD gets all the credit in the end, and we're merely his marionettes.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Evolution Wins!

We have it, people! Final, concrete proof that Evolution is in fact an observable law! For so long, the Creationists have been asking for seemingly nonsensical "transitional" fossils~ but little did they know, some aren't fossils, but live creatures! I proudly present to you the Croco-duck! Final refutation of Creationist demands against Evolution!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another Battle..

It's back, predictably, the conflict between science and religion! James Hannam has a new article on Patheos about the bruhaha rising from Martin Rees receiving the Templeton Foundation's annual award. Atheist scientist, religious foundation, its not hard to see where the conflict comes in, right?


Hannam seems to think all the fuss is posturing over nothing, because in his words (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Religion has never impeded science." While that is patently false, its interesting that his examples are all from antiquity, and he seems to disregard the fact that religious beliefs are impeding science NOW and are in conflict with rationality NOW, fuck the past! You have large portions of the population who blatantly disregard scientific findings on Global climate change (because God said the earth is for us/ Because God promised he won't flood the world again!) you have people who are trying to shut down one of the most pioneering branches of medical biology [stem cell research] because of passages NOT in the bible; and of course, people who discriminate against and deny rights to a large minority population in the US because of two or three lines of their "holy book" that say being gay isn't "ok." This is absolutely wrong, all of it, but the real point of Dawkins, Coyne and Meyers is that hypocrisy is never easy to swallow~ Science is completely pragmatic (or at least, by definition, it should be) and having beliefs is NOT. Religion and Science will ALWAYS be in conflict (at least traditional religion) because one is based on reason, evidence, testability, and repeatability, while the other is based on FAITH. Thats it, faith. That is what is at the core of religion, because there is no unrefuted/un-debunked evidence to support it. Seriously, that's it. The fundamental opposition of the two is staggering, and I don't care how nice they [the religious] are about it, the two should and are mutually exclusive in that respect. Just as the study of Unicorns is not comparable to the study of Cephalopods.

Ugh, sorry to cut it short, I'll write more on this later.


Go Towards the Light!

Just walking about the internet as I normally do, and I happened to stumble upon this fine gentleman doing voice impressions~ I think he's quite good, but don't take it from me, check out his videos.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unseasonal, but Relevant

I happened across this picture today, and while the Big Guy is hibernating (or whatever he does in the off season) right now, it struck me as oddly relevant to my day to day discourse.

Why is it that some fairy tales disappear with age~ I don't know anyone over 12 who believes in Santa Claus~ any yet others, although equally ridiculous, continue on for life? Typically children think their way out of the Santa Claus myth, and as they learn to reason (even though the image is perpetuated annually across the nation) they eventually realize that it was all just a game and fanciful tale. Why is religion any different? Are the claims of a god on earth, miracle birth, and resurrection from the dead really more believable than going to every house on earth in one night, carrying with him billions of presents, fitting down a chimney, or any of those other aspects of our "christmas favorite?"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Holy Irony, Batman!

So this may not be news to you if you follow Pharyngula, but its a delicious feast of irony with a side of, yep, more irony. Its a blog that follows the development of Mr. Cronon, a professor who apparently had the gall to mention how the Republican party in Wisconsin is working against its history [combating the progressive laws their party helped pass] and, in the ultimate irony, following the lead of a Governor whose leadership style closely resembles another famed Wisconsinite, Joe Mcarthy. If you have the time, read it all and follow the links. If you don't, well who the fuck do you think you are? This is HISTORY here! After the publication of Cronon's OpEd article in the NYTIMES, now the Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature are using laws they apparently disagree with on principle [using request of information legislation to grab Cronon's emails from his university account, while passing a bill in conflict to the Open-Meeting laws in Wisconsin] to dig for dirt on him.
Another interesting revelation of Cronon's research is that he reveals a major interest in this legislation, a group called ALEC, who has been drafting "hypothetical" legislation for conservatives. This bill is apparently part of this groups activities, as was the controversial "anti-immigration" legislation in Arizona. The best part is, the groups website is now down! Now we really can't see what these people are up to; not that we could before, you either have to be a Republican Legislator [and get vetted before being allowed into the cool kids club] or be a wealthy private contributer, which one would assume also comes with a vetting.
All in all, non of this surprises me. The "radicalism" [and I hate to use that word that has gotten around more than Sarah Palin gaff videos on YouTube] that has been growing since the early nineties is to be expected. It's a logical, animalistic response to a group or idea (somewhat like a church) that has been in power realizing they are on the way out. Either give up and die (which is never an option), comprimise your "ideals" (a less likely option) or solidify your ingroup by creating an extreme atmosphere that will expell those who do not tout your ideas specifically. Get rid of those who water down the "purity" of your message, then invigorate your remaining base, get militant, and keep control by force.
Its weird, I feel like I've seen this somewhere in the recent past... Oh, wait, it was in Egypt and now in Libya. Weird how that stuff can be found even in the "most free" of countries.

Oh yeah, that was sarcasm.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Michele Bachman Attacks Your Constitution

If you really want to test your constitution, try watching Rep Michele Bachman on Meet the Press~ I defy any rational human being to watch this video and not throw up.  Its farcical that so many people supposedly identify with this woman~ even on simple questions, she can't diverge from this two note thought process on healthcare and "Obama is evil" to actually explain her position.  This serves as confirmation of the inanity of her movement, the lack of insight these people have, and the shallowness of their political ideology.  She can't answer simple questions?!  Give me a break.
The simple fact that people somehow voted this shill for ignorance into a public office is enough to make a person sick (even as dog catcher,) let alone the fact that she has the ability to effect peoples lives across the nation.  Watch this video (if you can) and realize how little she knows, and how Americans failed themselves by voting someone into office based on rhetoric instead of substance.  Shame on you, minnesota, just shame...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Free Troy Davis

So I haven't been here for a while, apparently I don't have the discipline that a blogger is supposed to have~ So I guess I should redouble my efforts???
Anyways, I was surfing the internet looking for a cause (like liberals do, amiright?) and stumbled upon the Troy Davis case~ man on death row (thats the first problem here) who is running out appeals.  The real problem here is he was convicted with NO Dna, NO murder weapon, 7 of the 9 witnesses against him recanted their testimonies (citing police coercion), there was NO physical evidence linking him to the murder, and some evidence for the case was never heard by a jury.  If that interests you, look it up, learn about it, don't just take my word~ but this legal system is in need of SERIOUS reform.  I'll post more later.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Open Letter to [Atheists??]

Rabbi Adam Jacobs has seen fit to address the atheist community on its illogical errors by posting an open letter in the Huffington Post.  He seems to have thought out his points at length, and unfortunately, comes up woefully short on articulating any semblance of understanding the "new atheist" movement.  You can read it here.  I'll just point out a few of the glaring errors that happened into my mind as I read this.

He says he thinks we are all truly agnostic, which demonstrates a lack of understanding in regards to the differences to the two stances~ agnosticism is a philosophical position of possible knowledge~ "a god cannot be known by man" whereas to be atheist is a statement of belief~ "I do not believe there is a god."
He tries to attack an argument from authority that atheists, as far as I know, have never made.  'Our' great thinkers, he says, have counterpoints on the religious side; I say, "so what?"  I have heard no one say that they are atheist because this smart person said so~ in fact, if they did, I suspect that they would face great scrutiny from their fellow atheists for lack of depth and perception when coming to their conclusion.
In his article is a link to this article which he considers a "great rebuttal" and shows instantly how ignorant he truly is on matters of biology and the arguments against 'design.'  It is full of pandering and words that are used to bully the reader into accepting the claims presented.  I might post about this article itself in a separate piece; but I digress.  When reading this 'open letter' (which really strikes me more as what would be described as 'open idiocy') you will also see the fabled "argument from morality" which makes mention of the great "secularist" dictators in the past.  Its obvious at this point that not only does Rabbi Jacobs not have an adequate understanding of the arguments against religion, he actively does not care.  He is willing to regurgitate whatever asinine argument that crosses his mind without searching for the retort~  He presents them, like so many before him, as though they are the real conversation stoppers in the matter of faith.
    Interestingly enough, the good Rabbi states that he spent many years as an atheist!  That would surprise me, because from his relatively weak diatribe so far he has come up immensely short in understanding any of the popular ideas that atheists commonly subscribe to.  He thinks that the reason atheism is becoming more vocal is only because religion is making the worse worse and hindering progress (which it is) but seems to ignore the fact that atheists have been marginalized (as have his ilk) in modern society for centuries.  He also asks that atheists recognize the historical contributions that religion has provided, and then quotes Paul Johnson.
   "To them (the Jews) we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human person; of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption; of collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without Jews it might have been a much emptier place."

Yes, equality before the law (if you subscribe to their religion.)  Sanctity of life (if you were a Jew, and the right kind of Jew), the idea of personal redemption (sorry, but that was around much longer than judaism), of social responsibility (again, around much, much longer) and peace and love as the foundation of justice.  Yes, if that were the case, I would expect many more people clamoring for laws derived from the old testament.  Maybe, Rabbi, you could spearhead that movement?  He then goes to address Empiricists (apparently every atheist bases every aspect of their world view off of only those things that can be measured) and make the point, and I'm paraphrasing here, that while they [we] only "know" those things that we can prove, they look at things 'carefully' and "know" there is a god (unprovable as he is)~ somehow that is supposed to make us jealous.  He talks about multiverse theory being untestable (and therefor "unscientific") and that subscribing to that is just as much a matter of faith~ despite the fact that it has been born of mathematica proofs based on the very real and observable laws of the universe.  I half expected him to bring out the "if there are laws, there must be a law maker" argument while reading this.  Then there is this appeal~
        Maybe we can at least agree that forces unseen, however we conceive of them, seem to be playing a major role in our lives?
Sorry Rabbi, but the forces we are talking about can be explained.  We don't personify them, worship them, or try to enact legislation based on what they supposedly think is "moral" or "right."  We seek to understand them, not follow them~ for following them is not an option for us, it is a condition of existence (which in reality makes your believe or not believe god look rather silly, eh?)
He then quotes Charles Darwin (praise be to him!) and invokes a rather inverse argument from authority~ if your guy believed (Darwin claimed to be agnostic) then isn't there room for you???

After reading this, I realized that I had ultimately wasted five minutes of my life on absolutely nothing of consequence.  The Rabbi Jacobs has proven himself to be whole-heartedly ignorant (and purposefully so) on the issues of which he wrote this letter.  He apparently has no real concept of rationality, skepticism, or of atheism in general~ but could that be our fault?  Are we really not doing our best to get our message out there and to make the religious understand?  It seems to me that this letter should be the impetus for us to get even more vocal!  Lets shout it from the rooftops, so that there will be NO misunderstanding! 
But again, I must feel sorry him.  Clearly we are observing the Dunning-Kruger effect first hand, and for that, my good friend has only one thing to say.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Welcome To Diogenetics

This is to be the conduit through which your mind is electrified~ that amalgam of emotion and conditioning that you call your soul has found its penultimate destination; the almost final place to escape the opprobrium and subterfuge this world has to offer.  Sit at your computer, constantly refresh, and wait for the updates.