Rule Five Friday

2014_08_08_Rule Five Friday (2)The 800 Pound Gorilla in the room for rare earth sustainability in North America – Thorium.  Excerpt:

James Kennedy works closely with the Thorium Energy Alliance to promote US legislation for the commercial development of thorium energy systems and rare earths. And when he asked me to review a video where he presents a paper entitled “Creating a Multinational Platform, Thorium, Energy and Rare Earth Value Chain – a Global Imbalance in the Rare Earth Market” – it occurred to me that Tracy’s frequently referenced ‘800 lb. gorilla’ in the proverbial rare earth room was overdue for discussion: thorium.

2014_08_08_Rule Five Friday (3)Kennedy’s essential argument is that the rare earth imbalance is largely the result of regulations with unintended consequences: “Rare earths and thorium have become linked at the mineralogical and geopolitical level.” In other words, thorium should be considered as a rare earth mineral.

The article concludes:

There are currently two bills before the US Congress “that if enacted would create a federally-chartered multinational rare earth cooperative that’s privately funded and operated, and it would be authorized to accept monazites and other thorium-bearing minerals. The thorium would be removed and stored on what Kennedy calls a federally-chartered ‘thorium bank’ for safekeeping. This will help mining companies, which help place liability to the bank, leaving the miners to 2014_08_08_Rule Five Friday (1)produce higher value HREE’s.

My question is this:  If, in our quest to be rare-earth independent, we start upping production of thorium – why not use it in a liquid fluoride thorium reactor to generate electricity?

The country badly needs more electrical power generation.  We need to lessen our dependence on foreign sources (especially China) for rare earths.  We can accomplish both by developing thorium 2014_08_08_Rule Five Friday (5)reactor capacity and refining our own rare earths from monazite.

Or does this just make too much sense for the Imperial Federal government to buy in on?

Of course, we can always start aggressively developing our own traditional domestic energy sources as well – again, if the folks in the Imperial City deign to allow it.  A common argument states that it would take X number of years to bring these domestic sources on line.

And that common argument has been in play for thirty years or more.  It’s time to push that one into its long-overdue grave.

2014_08_08_Rule Five Friday (4)

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearI think I may need one of these.  Relevant quote from the site:

TrackingPoint precision guided firearms, developed by military experts and a team of over forty engineers, have virtually eliminated shooter error and adverse conditions from the firing equation. Our Tag-Track-Xact system can more than double the proficiency of a skilled shooter and let them take shots they’d never before even attempt, while capturing it all on video. TrackingPoint precision guided firearms increase effective range, maximize accuracy, and almost entirely eliminate the possibility of errant shots. We’ve combined our technological innovations with the best hardware in the American gun industry has to offer, fusing our integrated trigger and groundbreaking scope system with 7.62, 300 BLK & 5.56 Semi Auto Platforms along with  .338 Lapua and .300 Win Mag bolt action rifles to create a firing system unparalleled in the world today.

This one in particular catches my eye:

750_newest-use-me

The TP 750 300H long range hunting rifle provides fighter-Jet Precision for 300 Winchester Magnum, a high performance long distance cartridge popular for hunting moose, elk and bighorn sheep, amongst other game.

The company’s other offerings have an overtly “tactical” look, but the TP 750 300H looks like a hunting rifle – the enormous high-tech scope notwithstanding.  Much as I would love to play with this form the standpoints of my peripatetic gun-nuttery and techishness inclinations, there are possible issues for this as a hunting gun.  What might those be?

There are two ways of looking at this from the standpoint of hunting ethics.  First:  Does this violate the rules of fair chase by removing a large element of required marksmanship skill?  Or does it actually improve the chance of a quick, clean kill and thus enhance the ethical aspect of the hunt?

It’s an interesting problem, and one that I haven’t wrapped my brain around yet.  It hasn’t stopped me from wanting one of these rifles – although I suspect the price tag might.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

A few odds and ends this morning:

The stock market continued its sell-off yesterday.  Uncertainty over the unsettled state of the world?  Nobody should be surprised.

Speaking of which:

What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?  Thumbnail:  Kill lots of Jews.

Iraq’s Religious Minorities are Being Slaughtered and ISIS Just Captured the Last Town Giving Them Shelter.

Europe Divided over Immigration, Work Ethics.

This from PJMedia’s Roger Simon:  Welcome To The 1930s.  Money quote:

A decade ago, I was in Paris to research a novel I never wrote and was taken to the bainlieu, witnessing firsthand Muslim neighborhoods seething with more hate than anything I had seen on trips to Cairo or even Jenin. The initials NTMJ were scrawled everywhere (short for “nique ta mere, juif” – fuck your mother, Jew). I was aware that “juif” in those Paris suburbs had become a curse word for anything from a broken Silver Bearfountain pen to a lost subway pass.

Compare those sentiments to what is happening in the Middle East today.

Granted no historical comparison is perfect; as Mark Twain pointed out, history may not repeat, but it often rhymes.  Since September 11, 2001, I’ve been wondering if we were witnessing the first shots of WW3.

I’m still wondering.

This is John Galt Speaking.

Wesley Mouch Eric Holder Sues Police Department for Treating Women as Equals.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Excerpt:

Facepalm-bearThe Pennsylvania State Police are being sued by Eric “The Extortionist” Holder for alleged sexual discrimination. No, the Penn police didn’t do anything as egregious as force women to pay for their own birth-control; but apparently it was enough to persuade the DOJ to file a lawsuit. The offense: Women are being held to the same standards as their male counterparts!

Apparently, requiring all candidates to pass the same standard physical fitness test is sexist. See, women are having a tough time passing the test – and this is obviously by design.

So, to match the least competent President of my lifetime, we have the least competent Attorney General of my lifetime.

Interesting times, True Believers.  Interesting times.

Animal’s Daily News

Excellent!
Excellent!

This just in from the pages of Reason.com:  The Courts Advance Concealed Guns.  Excerpt:

Gun-control advocates are learning the downside of getting their way. Recently, a federal judge struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on the carrying of concealed handguns. Anti-gun forces have been losing in legislatures for a long time. Now they are finding that even where they win, they lose.

Washington used to have the strictest gun laws in America. Besides the prohibition of concealed guns, all firearms had to be registered and handgun ownership was forbidden.

Violent Crime Rates by Gender
Violent Crime Rates by Gender

The restrictions had no evident effect on crime: In the 1990s, the nation’s capital was known as the murder capital. But they invited a legal challenge—a historic one, as it happened. In 2008, the Supreme Court invalidated the city’s handgun ban as a violation of the Second Amendment.

More crime rates by gender.
More crime rates by gender.

It has been just the last few years that the courts in general have seemed to remember that the Second Amendment exists, and what the plain language of that amendment actually means – and that realization has blown up in the faces of would-be gun banners.  (It would be nice if judges, especially at the Imperial level, would remember some of the other amendments – the Fourth and Tenth, for example.)

Interestingly, all during the time the courts have been striking down restrictive gun law after restrictive gun law, violent crime rates have been dropping (see the charts above.)

It’s almost as though potentially violent thugs might be deterred by the thought of armed resistance.  Amazing, eh?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Monday again – will the stock market continue last week’s plunge?  Two items of interest:

3 Warning Signs Predict 20% Stock Tumble.

Why It’s Too Early to Call The Bottom.

The stock market has, over the last few years, been somewhat unaccountably robust.  Why?  Interest rates, in part; there is nowhere else to put your savings to get any kind of return, since the Fed has kept interest rates in the basement – artificially, I might add, and probably counter to market forces.

The crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were caused by government interference in the economy, beginning with the Smoot-Hawley Act.  The crash of 2008 was caused by the Imperial Federal government’s interfering in housing markets.

Excellent BearThe next great crash will also be caused by Imperial interference.  You probably didn’t read it here first (if you’ve ever read any of Thomas Sowell’s books on economics, you most assuredly didn’t read it here first) but just watch.

It’s going to be roundly interesting to see what the markets do today.

Rule Five Friday

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (1)Robert Stacy McCain on hyper-curiosity, an affliction shared by yr. obdt.  Excerpt:

When something catches my attention, it is my habit to research the topic within an inch of its life, pursuing random footnotes and the biographical details of the authors of the works cited in the bibliography, in order to satisfy my maniacal desire to know.

Do not tell me your opinions. Tell me what you know — give me facts, quotes, something genuinely useful to me as knowledge.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (2)Mr. McCain describes the case of a “Vegetarian environmentalist animal-rights feminist” who, among other things, used her own menstrual blood to fertilize lettuce, which she then ate.

Eww.

Mr. McCain concludes the case study and contrasts the person in question with his own incessant curiosity by noting:

Am I the only one who notices how many young people seem to care more about their beliefs and attitudes than about knowledge?

That is to say, despite their intelligence, their sense of themselves is almost entirely about membership in an ideology/identity group — to which they give a cult-like loyalty — and they never pursue knowledge except to reinforce their own beliefs. This is not merely intellectual sloth, but deliberate self-imposed ignorance. They are determined to know nothing outside the confines of their own narcissistic identity bubble, and are therefore so ignorant that they have no concept of how much they don’t know.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (3)It is impossible to educate self-absorbed people who lack curiosity. “Checking out my vagina with a compact mirror” is a  perfect metaphor for the lives of this hopelessly ignorant generation.

Juxtaposition of image and story is, yes, deliberate.  Suck it, hyper-sensitives.

But consider this sentence:  “It is impossible to educate self-absorbed people who lack curiosity.”  Indeed, this has always been the case, and will always be the case.  And Mr. McCain is probably correct in his assessment, as we have observed in these 2014_08_01_Rule Five  (5)pages; the up-and-coming generation does seem horribly self-absorbed.  The rise of the “selfie” and the endless self-fellation offered by Facebook and the like are more likely symptoms than causes.

But the real crime is the lack of curiosity, and that is nothing new; when I was a young man in the Seventies I noticed it all too plainly among my peers, and I still note it in all too many of my fellow Baby Boomers today.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (6)Curiosity is above all else a sign of intelligence; it is perhaps the sign of intelligence.  The drive to know, the understanding of the difference between fact and opinion, the successful application of basic logic in discovery and problem-solving; how many people do you know that are really capable, really competent at these?

And how many people routinely critically examine their own opinions?  It’s easy to be critical of someone else’s viewpoint; far more challenging to be critical of your own.

But all these things have curiosity at their heart.  Mr. McCain is correct in bemoaning its loss.

2014_08_01_Rule Five  (4)

Animal’s Daily News

PeTA-bearLet’s examine a couple of tidbits from the world of science this morning.

First up:  The Radical Plan To Eliminate Earth’s Predatory Species.  No, it’s not what you think; this dipshit actually wants to micromanage the ecosystem of an entire planet – this one, by the way – so as to stop predators from killing and eating other animals.  Money quote:  “I look forward to a future where all sentient beings enjoy life animated by gradients of bliss.”

I look forward to a future where all sentient humans stop wasting valuable time dreaming up laughable horseshit.

Next, and possibly excluding the nutbar mentioned above and most members of Congress, scientists appear to be closing in on what consciousness actually is.  Excerpt:

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

Derp BearOr, in the case of Paris Hilton (or Joe Biden, if you prefer) like a five-year old playing “Chopsticks” on a toy piano.

But I digress.

Is it a tremendous leap to intuit that, once we fully understand consciousness, we might be able to duplicate it?  Could this be the first step towards a sentient, self-aware Artificial Intelligence (AI?)

Rampant speculation, I grant you.  But interesting all the same.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.