Archive for the News Category

Priorities

Posted in News on July 23, 2011 by Sardonic Pariah

Sometimes the world is an offensive place.  I’m just about to take my offensive part in it.  Again.

I want you to go on Facebook.  Right now.  Take a look around, and see how many people are remarking on the death of Amy Winehouse.  “R.I.P. Amy, you were such an inspiration!”  An inspiration for what, exactly?  Reasons to avoid drugs and alcohol?  Not to sound insensitive, but this woman was a poster child for a very dangerous culture, one that (I would guess) has now taken her life at the young age of 27.  Like it did to Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and numerous others.  I struggled with substance abuse problems as a teenager, so I’m no angel, but the things these people did with their free time should have relegated them to the dregs of society.  Instead it was glorified, and thousands cry when their lifestyles put them in the ground early.

And nowhere will you find people commenting on the deaths of dozens of children in Norway.

At the same time that Western culture is lamenting the loss of a drug-addled, self-abusing, and generally debased adult who made her own choices and paid the price, some eighty or more innocent kids were brutally murdered near Oslo.  The only poor choice these children made in their lives was to go to this youth camp, perhaps to make friends, or enjoy nature, or just because it was the thing to do in the summer time.  Whatever the reasons, there they were, some of them begging for their lives as a grown man mowed them down with an automatic weapon.  And who knows who they would have been?  Nobel laureates?  Powerful CEOs or politicians?  Maybe even alcoholic singers.  They never got to make those choices.

And yet here we are, lamenting the loss of a person who made all the wrong ones.  We need to set our priorities straight.  Seriously.

Advertisements

Chicken of the Sea

Posted in News on July 13, 2011 by Sardonic Pariah

Take a gander:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14133913

I have some beef with this.  And I don’t mean hamburger.

I don’t mind fish.  I’m not huge on seafood in general, but I certainly don’t hate a nice salmon steak.  Tuna is a staple of my diet.  Cheap, healthy protein, right?  My question is this: why are people still fishing in the oceans?  We certainly don’t hunt commercially significant tonnages of cows.  We farm them.

So, what’s the deal here?  One would think that commercial hatcheries would be the rule, given that no other food source that is a significant portion of a nation’s or region’s intake is hunted.  I mean, you don’t hear quotas on the tonnage of wild bovines that can be brought in by professional hunters in a given year.

Hatcheries would allow for a sustainable, measurable source of fish protein, just like farms manage the amount of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and so on.  I mean, we farm ostriches in Ontario, for Christ’s sake.  But commercial tuna hatcheries are so uncommon that tens of thousands of tonnes of the fish are “hunted” each year.  Screams stupidity.

Maybe one day I’ll open a tuna hatchery.  Then I can have as much tuna casserole as I want.

Winning.

Iceland Explodes… Again

Posted in News on May 24, 2011 by Sardonic Pariah

Damn, twice in just over a year?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13487858

This little country has some pepper, I’ll tell you what.  Last year a volcano I couldn’t possibly hope to pronounce (Eyjafjallajokull) erupted, knocking out air travel throughout a large portion of Western Europe.  This one isn’t quite as hot to trot, but it’s still imposed a relatively local ban on air travel.  Are the Icelanders concerned?  Doesn’t seem so.  I guess they’re used to pretty hillsides exploding.

On an obscure sidenote that I’m sure you all care very deeply about, CCP, the company that produces my favourite game, is an Icelandic company.  The game?  Oh, you didn’t ask?  I’m telling you anyway.  It’s EVE Online.

Internet spaceships are serious business.  So are volcanoes.

Smelling Salts

Posted in News on May 5, 2011 by Sardonic Pariah

The Liberals need some, because they just got knocked the fuck out.

For those of you not in the know, Canada has a multi-party system, but there are really three parties who share the vast majority of the power, those being the Conservatives, the Liberals, and the New Democrats.  Historically, the balance of power rested between the Conservatives and the Liberals, with these parties representing either the Government or the Opposition.  Over the last several years the Opposition has consisted of the Liberal party.

Things changed this year.

The Conservatives made their usual strong showing, this time ending up with a majority government, with 167 seats of the 308 in the House of Commons.  Stephen Harper and the gang are now pretty well unassailable.  Surprisingly, the Dippers moved into second, with 102 seats, making them the new official Opposition.  And the poor Liberals… well, they’ve ended up in the usual Dipper seat, with 34 seats.  The other 5 seats in the goverment are now held by (obviously) minor parties.

To what can we attribute the Liberal failure?  Well, it’s not entirely Ignatieff, though he’s quite the ass.  Preceding Ignatieff was the extremely limp Stephane Dion, making Mikey the second dud in a row for the party.  The fact is that the Liberals seem to have entirely lost touch with the voting base of the country.  They continuously operate campaigns that barely register in the country’s collective psyche; while the Conservative propensity for attack ads is not entirely laudable, at least you know they’re there.  Finally, the Liberals seem to exist in a mental ivory tower: for 69 years of the 20th century the Liberals had power, and they’ve still got their heads in the sand, thinking they’re the de facto ruling party.

Take the silver spoons out of your mouths, gentlemen: you’re eating with tin utensils now.

The Death of bin Laden

Posted in News on May 2, 2011 by Sardonic Pariah

Well, this is big news to start off the News section of the blog.  Before I go into further depth, understand that my usual raucous humour has been shelved for this one.  A lot of people take discussion of terrorists in general, and Osama bin Laden in particular, quite personally.  Here’s a news link:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/05/01/us-obama.html

Right.  So, who exactly was this guy?

Bin Laden was a Saudi born into the late 50’s to a wealthy family with ties to the Saudi royal family.  Raised as a devout Muslim, one could say that he had an easy life, at least to start off with.  He had access to high quality education, and it’s quite apparent he made use of it.  His family had money, prestige, and power.  Everything a boy could want, right?

In 1979, when bin Laden was in his early twenties, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a sovereign Muslim nation.  Wealth, comfort, and power aside, it was probably at this point that bin Laden’s nascent zealotry solidified into something real.  He took off for the war-torn country, determined to protect it from the infidels driving tanks across Muslim soil.  Agree with him or not, he was a patriot of sorts, and he was willing to put his money where his mouth was and fight for that idealism.

It just so happens he was on the wrong side, at least from the Western point of view.

Though it is widely believed that bin Laden and his early troops received training from the C.I.A. to counter Soviet soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan, he quickly turned against the United States when Western troops began moving into Saudi Arabia during the buildup to the Gulf War.  His knowledge of asymmetric warfare, the same knowledge he used to fight the U.S.S.R., was now turned against the Western world, often being expressed in attacks against undefended civilian targets.  This methodology culminated in the worst terrorist attack on record, the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City.  While the method is deplorable from a moral standpoint, it is quite effective from the standpoint of guerilla warfare; the fact that he could strike so far, and do so on American soil, is a testament to the determination of his new generation of mujahideen.

Nonetheless, as all guerillas are, bin Laden was vastly overmatched by those he chose to fight.  The resources and manpower available to a conventional military, even that of a solitary nation, far outweigh anything he could bring to bear, and so the al Qaeda remained splintered, a loose collection of individual cells each operating on their own initiative.  This has had, and will have, a great impact on events, in the author’s humble opinion.

First and foremost, it left him vulnerable to a direct attack.  Your standard dictator has a nation to defend him; he has vast tracts of land a would-be assassin must cross, high walls with armed guards, and bunkers hardened against bomb attacks.  Bin Laden had none of these, and so his only defence was secrecy.  When he was finally found, a single unit of specialist troops was all that was required to bring him down.  Such a strike against, say, Barrack Obama would be logically impossible.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it means that the al Qaeda network is a collection of tiny movements, each led by a capable individual, and each now seeing Osama bin Laden not as the hero he was to them, but as the martyr he has become.  Don’t expect the American “War on Terror” to be over just because bin Laden is dead; in fact, believe that it will now increase in scope, though perhaps not magnitude.  Perhaps now it will become a collection of tiny wars, fought in back alleys and hidden places, with canisters full of nails and rivets exploding in marketplaces.  Remember that bursts of evolution are almost always preceeded by extinction events.

I say this with all seriousness.  I say this as a person who loves democracy and the freedoms it offers, and as a person who is opposed to not only Muslim exremism, but extremism in all its forms.  Osama bin Laden may be dead, but his ideal is not.  Beware those who pick up his torch.  He had only one; they will have many.