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I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're asking cops to do everything all the time now... In addition to protecting us, and bringing in the bad guys, and finding them, we want them to use kid gloves and we've tied their hands over and over again. So we are getting exactly what WE deserve, a bitter police force, who feels that the people are not behind them, and thus they move from serving and protecting us to serving and protecting themselves. Congratulations everyone... you got the police force you deserve. You don't like it? Well further tying their hands, throwing them in jail, etc. is just gonna make it worse. Rock on, morons.
The essence of being a Christian is that you have to believe that a guy died on a cross, was stone cold dead, not sleeping, not in "suspended animation", not hibernating, but dead dead dead. And then 3 days later, he came back to life. According to Jesus, it's best if you just accept it on faith. But as an engineer, I needed the proof... so even though I'm a doubting Thomas, I have come to believe that he is risen. And I have a much higher than normal IQ, and am not easily impressed with magic tricks, tarot cards, and psychics...
What I found most interesting is that human footprints on another world isn't even considered. And when I think of wonders, I have to believe that walking on the moon makes all other human wonders pale in comparison. I, too, was absolutely enthralled by the space program and the Apollo missions. I've watched Apollo 13 like 20 times. I was too young to remember the first moon landing and Armstrong's first steps. I do remember being in kindergarten and being hustled into a cafeteria so the entire school could watch a moon landing on a 19 inch black and white television. I remember building a model Saturn V rocket with my dad, with all the stages were removable. For one of the launches, I dutifully discarded the stages as the rocket took off, and I remember thinking the mission was doomed to failure, having seen 90% of the rocket gone in the first 10 minutes. How could they have made such a mistake I thought...
Anyway, fast forward to today, and I have several friends who are convinced the moon landings were faked and have an elaborate conspiracy theory supporting their assertion. My daughter even explained to me that the cameras wouldn't have worked in space (she just got done with a photography course where they posited this theory). Historians claim that the whole thing was just a cold war artifact. Lots of people make the argument that the money would have been better spent on social programs (as if we had just added the Apollo funding to the supertanker of money already spent on such programs would have just made the difference, and we'd be living in a utopia now if only our swaggering leaders had just thought of the children!)
Rarely mentioned is the fact that having humans walk on another world is perhaps the greatest achievement mankind has ever accomplished. It is more often written off as a publicity stunt. Lost is the inspiration a generation got from that endeavor. And that generation is getting old now and the state of the world and the indifference to the achievement discourages me and others of that time no end.
Getting off this pale blue world is a thing our society should value highly, as like it or not, the longevity of our species depends on it. And while we are currently in the wooden sailing ship stage of our ability to explore space, that should in no way discourage us to continue to push those boundaries. Humans should walk on Mars. We should capture and study asteroids. We should send probes to Europa in search of life. We should do these things, as Jack said, not because they are easy but because they are hard.
Meanwhile, Nasa's funding is abysmal in comparison to all of our other spending. A tiny fraction of our budget, seemingly shrinking every year. I am depressed.
Then my brother got the family to chip in and buy me a Tandy 1000a. It came with DOS, Deskmate, and Basic. I started programming in Basic using the concepts I had learned in FORTRAN. By the end, I think I had dumped about $5,000 into that computer. Printers, memory upgrades, floppy upgrades, hard drive, monitor, etc. And still was able to do amazing things with Basic and with BAT files.
My first job was with Arthur Andersen. COBOL. Batch COBOL. 2.5 years of it. Learned it in 6 weeks, and spent the rest of my career there either coding it or writing tech specs for it.
Went to work at an insurance company coding SqlWindows, a now obscure 4th gen programming language. But hey, it was Windows programming. Spent 10 years there in a variety of roles.
After that I set up my own web development shop... Wrote classic ASP which is essentially Basic for the web. And then went to work at another insurance company, writing, you guessed it, Microsoft VB.net. Granted, VB.net was a far cry from the original basic, and probably would have been better off learning C#. But that was Microsoft's strategy with
You are obviously not from the US so let me explain this to you. Our Constitution guarantees a right to a speedy trial. If JA wants a speedy trial, he'll get one, and will not "rot in a US jail for life" unless he was convicted and given a life sentence (Which in the US translates to roughly 10 years depending on your age and the leniency of your parole board)
What you are actually thinking about is Guantanomo, where I will agree we have imprisoned enemy combatants (ie. Prisoners of War) who are not subject to the Constitutional projections that would be extended to JA, like any other US resident...
We call it the "Barbie Car" because it looks like one, especially when you drop the top and the roll bar sticks out like a barbie car handle. A friend said that every time he sees it, a little piece of him dies in side. It is a very maligned car. Yet it's basically a Neon with different side panels. And she won the category of "coolest car" in her high school year book. All in all, money well spent.
(and one more "perk"... it is a 2008 bought in 2009, right before Chrysler went belly up. So it has an unlimited powertrain warranty. I plan on keeping that car until the only thing that is left is the engine and transmission. Hopefully I'll bankrupt Chrysler with engine/transmission replacements through 2035)
Meanwhile, the era of big government, Reconstruction through Today is taught in 11th grade. The focus of this book is things like the robber barrons, with little to no acknowledgement of the standard of living those "robber barrons" brought to the US. It shimmies right up to the notion that WWII for the US was started because the US cut off exports of oil and steel to Japan, instead of the fact that the Japanese bombed pearl harbor. The book glosses over the battles in the Pacific, and instead concentrates on the internment of Japanese Americans and the "questionable" decision to nuke Japan.
I insisted that both of my daughters take AP US History in high school so that they learn the entire history in one year, one devoid of this kind of historical revisionism that our school system foists on our children. Sadly, most of the students get the slanted version, and think that its reality. I doubt Slate will do an article on that, or the hundreds of other things I saw happen on my 9 years on the local board of education.