Friday, September 28, 2012

Fringe: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

"What a miserable future."

Though this quote is taken a bit out of context, I think it's an apt description of future Earth in 2036.

Yes, we are picking up where last season's future episode Letters of Transit left off.

The episode opens with Peter dreaming about the day the Observers invaded Earth. It also turns out to be the day Peter and Olivia lost their daughter Henrietta (who, as we know, Peter has been reconnected with).

Many sequences in this episode were splendid. Walter's interrogation, though difficult to watch, was an amazing to sequence to get into the mindset of the Big Bad Observer (same one who threatened a much aged Broyles in Letter of Transit) as well as the amount of will power Walter had in resisting the torture. Unfortunately, it had dire consequences.

The rescue sequence was executed well. The plan was good (really cool technology, faking the dead thing was). Peter, Olivia, and Etta executed it rather flawlessly. Everybody got out alive and relatively unscathed.

I know some people probably didn't like the reveal of a tumultuous relationship between the wonder couple, but even though an outline of what happened (Peter apparently abandoned the team after Etta's disappearance), the events leading up to it were not explained, which I think leaves us open for some good flashbacks in future episodes.

That last scene with Walter after they figure out the torture has erased chunks of his memory, including the plan to defeat the observers, was immensely powerful. Him sitting in his underwear in that dilapidated taxi listening to the music was fantastic enough. Then he saw that dandelion, a weed most people utterly hate, and I'd like to think those tears were him feeling hope for what may come in the future.

Some quick observations:

  1. Marcum proves his overwhelming creepiness with his purchase of Olivia and hoping to be her knight in shining armor like she was Sleeping Beauty. I shuddered.
  2. I completely forgot Simon sacrificed himself to free Peter and ended up in the Amber. Hopefully the brown shirt traitor bringing up the recovery of Simon's body means we may get to see more of him to come.
  3. Maybe the most important one, I think Etta may not be 100% stable. She seems to have much more of Peter's personality than Olivia's, and I don't think it's any more obvious than in during the rescue sequence when they have the following exchange: "What happened to him?" - P "Occupational hazard." - E "That's my girl." - P. I'd say Etta is somewhere near the point where Peter was during his murder-all-the-shapeshifters phase. She's been fighting this war for likely near as long as her parents have, and she is still quite young (23-24) so her actions are still more influenced by her emotions. This may prove to be problematic in the future for the Fringe team.
  4. Glyphs spell out D-O-U-B-T. I have feeling we'll be seeing much of that in future episoded.
Overall, I'd give this episode a 9 out of 10. I liked it. The pacing kept things moving. We had some great scenes. I look forward to seeing if Wyman can keep the story going now that it's serial for these last 12 episodes. If the rest are close to this premiere, I think season 5 is going to come along just fine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aliens! Aliens Everywhere!

This today from The Guardian:

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report 
It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim. 
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain. 
"A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions," the report states.
"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.
Granted, this is just one of many scenarios that were thought up by NASA affiliated scientists from Penn State University (the same university of the (in)famous Michael Mann, AGW alarmist du jour).

But lest we forget that infamous Paul Krugman rant about needing inflation to stimulate the economy (seriously, how did he win a Nobel). His solution? Why faking a hostile alien invasion, of course.

Video of evidence of a Krugman WTF:

Yep, that's Krugman, Nobel Laureate, saying the US government should fake an alien invasion to "stimulate" the economy.

So we've got on one hand Paul Krugman, heralded economic genius of the mainstream, saying the US should fake an alien invasion, and we have scientists from Penn St, most assuredly working under heralded climatology genius of the mainstream Michael Mann, saying aliens may destroy the human race because of how we've treated the climate.

Now, you can take this with a grain of salt, probably should really) but don't be surprised when in a few years we get the announcement: ZOMG ALIENS R GOIN 2 KEEL US!!!11!1!11!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

US Ambassador To Libya Killed

Via NBC News:
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed after protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad stormed the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi. 
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens," President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a statement. "Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers." 
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed during an assignment since Adolph Dubs was slain in an exchange of gunfire during a kidnapping attempt in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979. 
Earlier, three Libyan officials told The Associated Press that Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades. 
While some reports (like this one from NBC) are saying these attacks were in response to a film ridiculing Muhammad because the protests outside US embassies Libya and Egypt were to protest the film, I find that as the justification of the attacks to be rather ludicrous. As Reason 24/7 editor Ed Krayewski pointed out on Twitter this morning:
"At the DNC Obama said 'from Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings.' He said this even though Col. Qaddafi was caught by rebels with U.S. air support, abused, sodomized, then shot in the head. The U.S. laughed at Qaddafi's death, then realized that was not appropriate, and lightly condemned it, but pushed no investigation. Yesterday, the US Ambassador in Libya was killed by militants assaulting the Embassy. What are the chances Libya will bring these killers to justice when it knows the US doesn't really mind extrajudicial killings?"
What Krayewski seems to be implying is that this attack had more to do with retribution for the unlawful killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, which makes a great deal more sense than outrage over a movie.

There is a lesson to be learned here. It's the same lesson that should have been learned from 9/11 as well as countless of other events in history, and it is one the US government will ignore: The foreign policy of global hegemony the US government employs will always create a level of blow back which will be targeted toward Americans.

Whether it is putting troops in Saudi Arabia, toppling the Shah in Iran, or "installing democracy" in Iraq, Egypt, and Libya, these actions have consequences to them. The US government cannot run roughshod over whomever they want whenever they want, no matter how much they want to.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Happened In Little Rock?

Courtesy of the Associated Press
34-31. That's probably going to be stuck in my head for a while.

I have to commend ULM for their game plan against Arkansas. It was perfect. Quick hitting passes and misdirection runs kept the Arkansas defense off balance all game. It also didn't hurt that tackling Kolton Browning was like catching a greased pig. Arkansas had three sacks. It could have easily been ten.

Browning had a career night. He was 42 of 67 for 412 yards and 3 TDs. Yes, that's 67 attempts. He also led the Warhawks with 69 yards on 16 carries, including the game winning TD in overtime.

But this game can be boiled down to one thing: Tyler Wilson getting hurt. (Note: It seems to be confirmed that Wilson hurt his collarbone and is out for 3-4 weeks. Yay...)**

Before Wilson didn't come out of the locker room for the 2nd half, Arkansas had the game pretty much in hand. Yes, Browning was still doing his thing, but Arkansas was capable of moving the ball down the field effectively, racking up 288 yards and 3 TDs in only 11:07 of game time. Even though the defense was having an extremely difficult time with Browning (ULM had 257 yards at the half), the team could pretty much count on the offense to be able to score if not keep the time of possession.

Once Wilson went down and Brandon Allen stepped in, this game changed dramatically. Arkansas only held the ball for 9:34 of the 2nd half, almost a third of that (2:59) on the sole scoring possession to start the 3rd quarter. Allen ended up going 6 of 20 with a TD and an INT, but that INT came in a stretch to the end the game where he went 0-13.With Arkansas completely abandoned the running game, gaining only 96 yards on 26 carries, all the pressure was put on Allen's shoulders, and he wasn't ready for it. Because Arkansas couldn't move the ball, the defense had to stay out there longer without getting anymore of a lead.

All of that being said, Arkansas fans can't excuse this loss on the account of Wilson getting hurt, even if it would've changed the game. Paul Petrino shouldn't have abandoned the running game, one featuring a three-headed monster in Davis, Johnson, and Wingo. Paul Haynes should have found a way to contain Browning and stop ULM's dinking  and dunking down the field. John L Smith could have shown a little fire on the sidelines.

It was a collective effort in futility on the part of Arkansas players and coaches, along with the perfect game planning on the part of ULM and a career game from Browning, that pushed the Warhawks over the top in Little Rock on Saturday night.

On a side note, thoughts and prayers go out to Tevin Mitchell and his family. I didn't see him move any body parts after the medics carted him off the field. I truly hope he is okay.

Next week is Alabama without Wilson. I might start drinking heavily.

** Update: According to Josh Bertaccini from ESPN 92.1 The Ticket in Fayetteville, UA officials are denying Wilson has broken his collarbone at this time. Will keep updated.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Three Predictions For The 2012 Presidential Election

I've decided to make some predictions about the 2012 election because why the hell not.

Prediction #1:   After a record turnout in the 2008 election (60+ million), I predict that this election will garner no more than 50 million votes.

Apathy towards voting and the candidates (a good thing, in my opinion) has been very high this year. One can't blame the people for being apathetic toward two nearly identical candidates in Romney and Obama, who both support the continuation of the violent Drug War, the continuous foreign policy of global hegemony, and the ever increasing interference with the market from government forces via regulations and monetary manipulation. A person must be a fool (and there are plenty) to feel any sort of energy to vote for these oligarchic fascists. Sadly, the Cult of Voting will keep the country from completely withdrawing consent from the evil overlords.

Prediction #2: The winner of the 2012 presidential election will do so with 51-52% of the vote.

This election is close, which makes a great deal of sense when you see how close Obama and Romney are on policy issues. They're practically the same men. But the scarier thought in all of this is the amount of people who will be choosing the President of the United States. 52% of 50 million is 26 million people. A nation of 310 million people, and all that will be needed is the consent of 26 million people, if even that, to elect someone to the most powerful position in the history of the world. You should remember that the next time someone tells you the majority elected the president. It's a fat lie.

Prediction #3: Absolutely nothing will change.

Nothing will change. Nothing has changed in nearly 100 years. No matter whether Obama or Romney are elected, we will continue are failed, evil foreign policy, most likely intervening in Syria more than we already are as well as starting a war with Iran for Israel. No matter who gets elected, the Drug War will imprison record numbers of people every year, making a multi-billion dollar industry operate in a violent black market in a time when the economy is dire straits. No matter who gets elected, the Federal Reserve will continue to monetize the debts of Wall Street and manipulate the interest rates, further destroying the wealth of the middle class while creating large profits for all of the financial institutions. No matter who gets elected, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of Defense will continue to spy on peaceful American citizens who disagree with the usurpation of the citizens' rights by the mighty Leviathan in DC.

The United States are on a destructive path with which there is no way off but to continue over the edge of the cliff. The country, government and all those who suckle on its teets, are doomed. Scary thought.

It is amazing the entire country isn't full of depressed alcoholics.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Greeley School District Bans Jersey Numbers

Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen says he isn't bothered by the Greeley school district's ban on his jersey number and others because they're associated with local gangs.
The district bans 13, 14 and 18 and their reverse, 31, 41 and 81. Dreessen wears 81.
The rule is three years old but made headlines this week after a third-grader wearing Peyton Manning's No. 18 was sent home to change.
Dreessen said Thursday the ban doesn't bother him if it prevents trouble.
Eighteen is in the name of the 18th Street gang, while 13 and 14 are associated with other gangs but not used in their names.
What... the... hell?! Really, Greeley?! Really?! You're going to ban kids from wearing jerseys of their favorite players because drug gangs use the numbers?! Really?!

This is a fantastic example of the asinine, one-size-fits-all public school policies these idiots create to "solve problems." Just like the zero-tolerance policy, this doesn't take into consideration the situation and its actors. No two situations are exactly alike. This is weapons-grade stupid.

You cannot set arbitrary rules for places like public schools! It has not, does not, and will not ever work.

And this doesn't even remotely discuss the root cause to this "problem": the War on (some) Drugs being the catalyst for all of these violent drug gangs.

Why do Americans put up this?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lunch Time Links 8/17

Alabama Authorities Put Real Life Walter White On Most Wanted List
"The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office has placed Walter White on their priority list of the county's most wanted," The Tuscaloosa News reports. "White, 55, was on probation for a 2008 charge of making methamphetamine when he was arrested on similar charges in Bibb County earlier this year." 
Russian Court Imprisons Pussy Riot For Hooliganism
Three members of Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Friday after they were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in a church. 
The five months they have spent in detention since their arrests in March count toward the sentence, Judge Marina Sirovaya said.
More Than 30 Killed In Police Crackdown At South African Mine
Police opened fire on thousands of machete-wielding workers on strike at a South African mine, killing more than 30, authorities said Friday, in one of the bloodiest post-apartheid attacks in the nation. 
South African police said 34 people were killed and 78 others wounded in the attacks Thursday. The National Union of Mineworkers said 36 were killed.
Robin van Persie, Man U Ink 4-Year Deal
Dutch striker Robin van Persie on Friday completed his move to Manchester United in a four-year deal, saying it was an "honor" to sign with the club. 
"I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of so many great strikers, bringing my experience and playing my part to help the team compete for the biggest trophies in the game. I can't wait to get started," he said Friday. 
United confirmed the club had agreed on a fee with Arsenal on Wednesday evening, and the Dutch striker underwent a successful medical exam on Thursday before the final elements of the transfer were wrapped up. The deal, reportedly worth 24 million pounds ($38 million), has been done in time for Van Persie to go straight into Sir Alex Ferguson's squad for Monday's opening Premier League clash at Everton.

Fast And Furious Has Gotten Interesting

Via The Blaze
A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.
It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.
The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges.
Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 — during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations — as long as the intel kept coming.
This is egregious. I would like to see Issa go after Bush administration officials (specifically Alberto Gonzales) to go along with the justifiable pressure on Eric Holder and the Obama administration. And anyone on the left saying "See! This is all Bush's fault!" needs to shut up. The death tolls in the Mexican Drug War went from 9601 from 2006-2008 combined to over 11000 in 2010 alone. Obama took a Bush administration policy and escalated it with fervor. Just like he did with every other policy.

And for some perspective, this is like President Hoover's administration funneling guns to Al Capone's Chicago Outfit for intelligence on its rivals like the North Side Gang and the Genna brothers, and then Roosevelt coming in and ramping it up to an unprecedented level.

If these charges are true (which I don't doubt), it should put new context for those who are in support of the Drug War. It has never been about getting rid of drugs. It's been about controlling them. Looks like they're getting their wish. At least until another cartel decides to make a play for Sinaloa power and violence escalates again. Maybe the Romney administration will supply them if that happens.

Friday Fictioneers: The Blight Cometh: Part Two

© Lura Helms 2012

The Blight Cometh: Part Two

Two weeks passed. Two horrifying weeks as the blight began to spread across the area. Bill and Steve began hearing reports from other parts of the state being overrun. It was relentless.

Ever changing. Ever growing. Ever destroying.

When they met the biologist, Rebekah, in the capital, she insisted on coming with them. That's when they made the harrowing discovery.

"It's just destroying everything in its path," Rebekah said, dazed by the dying landscape.

Steve sighed heavily. "Yeah. This used to be nothing but trees. Now all that's left is the one in the middle."

"Which is peculiar, don't you think?" asked Rebekah.

A loud snort came from behind them. The duo turned to look at an eye-rolling Bill. "This whole thing is peculiar."

Rebekah regarded for a moment, and then turned back to Steve. "Can I borrow your binoculars?" she asked. Steve handed them to her and lit a cigarette. She zoomed in on the solitary tree. "There seems to be an odd growth on it."

"Not surprising," Bill replied. "Oaks like that sometimes have weird branches growing out from crooks."

The binoculars fell from her face, her eyes like saucers. She turned slowly to Bill. "Do they usually move?"

Steve's cigarette hit the ground unnoticed.

Follow me on Twitter @Jake_Collin

Thursday, August 16, 2012