by Terry Hargrove
One Sunday night last year, I decided to try my hand at some of the math I didn’t understand when I was a high school student. Right away, I came face to face with a long-forgotten nightmare called the distributive property. If I read it correctly, the distributive property says that an expression such as 4 x (2 + 3) is equal to 4 x 2 + 4 x 3. Wondering if such an insight would ever prove beneficial to me, and deciding that it would not, I left the math book on the table and went to watch some television. But my timing was bad. Nancy had the remote control, and despite the pitiful stares I cast toward her, she wouldn‘t share it.

“What are you watching?” I asked. “Because the Patriots are about to play the Cowboys and they’re both undefeated.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Judgment and the burnt weeny terror plot

Did anyone expect this Obama character to be such a card? I seem to remember speeches and quips about judgment and its importance in leadership. No quibbles about that, it’s true and i would take a man of good judgment over one of ossified, bureaucratic experience in most cases but especially situations of threat or upheaval. As an American, i should be well-trained in this game; i’ve eaten enough Big Macs to know that they look nothing like the advertising picture used to entice me. Lukewarm, grey “meat.” Ah yes, move over Big Dog, Big Mac is running the show now.

I think that i’m supposed to be comforted by his “surge” of federal air marshals. What is it with this guy and surges? See that problem, a surge will fix it. Hell, only a surge will fix it. I feel the same way about hammers, but i don’t act on it.
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Alienating aliens: Do nukes make them go ballistic?

THE DEPROLIFERATOR — Paul R. Hill was an aerodynamics scientist who led some key projects for NASA. Also, like moon-walking astronaut Edgar Mitchell, he believed in UFOs, in part because of two personal sightings. In fact, Hill marshaled his aerodynamic and mathematical expertise to the task of determining what made them fly. . . and stop on a dime. . . and change directions in a heartbeat. The book that was the result of his labors, Unconventional Flying Objects (Hampton Roads Publishing, 1995), is one of the most respected works in UFO lore, as well as great fun to read (despite all the equations).

Hill determined that their means of propulsion were — no surprise — an anti-gravity force field. Of course, he wasn’t able to conceptualize a working model. Had he been, NASA would no doubt have yanked him out of retirement and become involved in a tug of war with the Pentagon for his services. Continue reading