freeman

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2 months, 2 weeks ago
  • freeman commented on the blog post Late, Late Night FDL: Legend of a Mind

    2014-11-24 10:53:39View | Delete

    “Higher and Higher”, which begins with the sound of a Saturn V Launch. Then drummer Graeme Edge intones:

    Blasting, billowing, bursting forth with the
    Power of ten billion butterfly sneezes,
    Man with his flaming pyre has conquered the wayward breezes.

    Now every schoolchild knows that, breathing as they do through spiracles (those tiny holes in their flanks), butterflies don’t actually sneeze. But putting that on one side for a moment.

    At launch a Saturn V rocket puts out about 35 million newtons of thrust. Dividing by ten billion gives us 0.0035 newtons per butterfly sneeze. This is the power to accelerate about a third of a gram (a paperclip, say) one metre per second squared, which I consider impressive sneezing power. You could probably flick a paperclip with your finger such that it accelerates at one metre per second squared. But you are much bigger than a butterfly. Butterflies vary in weight from 0.0003 to 3 grams. Even if we take a median figure the song is suggesting that a butterfly can accelerate something weighing, let’s say, a tenth of its own bodyweight simply by contracting its spiracles. Scaling up, this would be equivalent to a grown man sneezing so hard than an artificial leg flew off the table in front of him with the velocity of a greyhound out of the starting gate. Which, now that I come to think of it, is a suitable image with which to round-up this account of the Moody Blues

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 11:42:09View | Delete

    From 2011

    “As a leader of Syria [Bashar al-Assad] is responsible for all that has happened,” Ban Ki-moon said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera.

    “He is the leader, and has a very important responsibility to protect the lives of his own people, therefore I would urge him again to stop immediately killing his people.”

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/12/2011121013399459899.html

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 11:30:27View | Delete

    Seems like the last time we chatted econ you were against the ongoing movement to cut power and water to the NSA’s facilities by several state legislatures.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 11:25:42View | Delete

    The Syrian conflict had humble beginnings: on March 15, 2011, a gaggle of Syrians frustrated with their country’s government marched the streets of Damascus in protest of Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorial regime. The sociopolitical turmoil in surrounding Middle Eastern countries – the Arab Spring – had bolstered hopes that Syrians, too, could effect peaceful political reform.
    Like in most autocratic regimes, these dissenters were met with an overwhelming military response by the government, removing the possibility for peaceful change. That heavy-handed response sparked outrage across the country, catalyzing a revolutionary movement a la Egypt. Unlike other episodes in the Arab Spring, the Syrian military remained staunchly loyal to Assad and unleashed – in the words of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon – a campaign of “brutal repression.”
    Foreign affair.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 11:21:36View | Delete

    He’s a dictator who inherited his office and chose to hang on to it by force.
    His support in Syria after years of a brutal civil war is largely a referendum on a desire for stability and an end to bloodshed from a weary population.

    At this point he is far better than the alternative but that doesn’t make him a nice guy.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 11:05:24View | Delete

    Allow me to clarify the post which you responded to . Assad went despotic first and the weapons and gas which crossed the border from Turkey were probably done with the blessings of the US who has been supplying the rebels there.

    The US role in the uprising in the Ukraine is also clear.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:59:41View | Delete

    Always the optimist. lol

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:58:56View | Delete

    Rayne was none to fond of me either being worried about my openly advocating non violent revolution before it became popular. Glad you are still writing though you took a break till recently I believe.

    Me … I lurk and think about refugees.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:53:19View | Delete

    Assad is a brute . The civil war began as part of the Arab spring gone bad and with his brutal crackdown on dissent.

    The original protesters have by now been replaced with foreign fighters and fanatics. The population in general is willing to accept the lesser evil in order to return to some stability.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:47:12View | Delete

    I need a new species.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:45:32View | Delete

    And that situation is a great recruitment tool for Isis. The fact that the US senate, Bernie sanders included , voted unanimously in support of Israel’s right to defend itself is going to get a lot of traction in the region as anti western propaganda and deservedly so.

    The man I met with in Turkey who arranged my meetings in Istanbul, was among the Turks who were on the Mavi Mamara. His best friend died in his arms.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:40:12View | Delete

    I won’t contest that but that didn’t begin till Assad went all despot on his own people and was probably coordinated and definitely supported by the US.

    The US has been pushing hard for war and a loss of it’s ports in Syria and the Ukraine would literally make the Russian navy icebound. That’s no coincidence.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:33:44View | Delete

    I’ll show you my bruises if you’ll show me yours. Morning Wendy.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:30:26View | Delete

    It’s worth considering.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:27:53View | Delete

    Turkey didn’t start Syria’s civil war and is being flooded by refugees which put a strain on it’s resources. The US was easily as active or more so in arming the rebels and it’s foreign policy essentially put radical Islam on the map in the first place.

    I am not defending or blaming Turkey here for what I perceive is a minor role in the situation there. It is water under the bridge at this stage anyway . The question is now , what is the best course of action going forward. Allying ourselves with Iran, a very undemocratic society along with the “moderate” rebels in Syria or Turkey, the neighboring country which is part of NATO probably the most prosperous and most democratic of the lot.

    I have not formed an opinion on how to go forward at this stage but I am only too aware of the suffering for those caught in the crossfire and there are no easy answers.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:18:17View | Delete

    I think the option should be examined in any case, at least intellectually. There are NO easy answers here folks. Assad is a maniac and the opposition to him is as bad or worse. Hezbollah and Iran are our only other reasonable choices as allies in a mess WE CREATED and that would certainly require a major reshuffling of alliances. Turkey on the other hand is more democratic than the rest of the region despite the troubling behavior of Erdogan as a result of his heavy handed response to Occupy Gezi.

    This shit is blowback plain and simple or maybe no so plain and simple. This fact at very least should be repeatedly served up to the American people who are nearly completely taken in by the propaganda and unaware of the history of atrocities which are America’s foreign policy for half a century.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 10:09:20View | Delete

    But please recall that whether the US benefits from a war in Syria or not we are essentially responsible for creating Isis and the fundamentalist menace which is tearing out the heart of the region. I have no idea what the answer is but perhaps merely washing our hands of it lacks empathy for those suffering as a result of American foreign policy and empire. Often things are not as black and white as we would like them to be.

    During a meeting with a Syrian gentleman involved in relief work in Turkey and after I had realized that the refugees living in Turkey were not going hungry I asked what could be done for those still in Syria. The man answered, “Give us guns”. I was staggered. I had opposed the attack on Assad based on my principles and am against violence a solution. I told him I had something more in mind like providing food. His effort were confined to education in the camps along the border. The Turks have recently shipped the refugees in Istanbul back to the camps.

  • freeman commented on the blog post Obama Preparing To Launch War In Syria (Again)

    2014-09-10 09:46:21View | Delete

    Not exactly ! I am wondering what can be done to end the misery of those in Syria at the mercy of both Assad and Isis. While in Istanbul this winter I had a series of meetings with a human rights organization there. I was staggered by the number of begging Syrian children wondering the streets, a phenomenon I have never witnessed before in the country. Unlike the other nations bordering Syrian refugees in Turkey are being paid a stipend and there is no one going hungry. It is obvious that the refugees are putting a fairly major burden on the surrounding neighbors and that the situation is dire. These children were not cute and cuddly, they had lived through enough horrors to make them feral. Till then I had never been afraid of a group of 5 year olds. Not pretty. I have been trying to raise money and awareness for their situation.

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