iJunkie

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I admit it, I’m an iJunkie.  Microsoft will really have to innovate in the coming years for me to convert back from Mac.  My Macbook has been a breeze to use, and iPhoto and iMovie have simplified my media projects and saved me hours of time.   I remember working on expensive Magellan editing decks in college–now I can accomplish everything I used to do and more in half the time.  

Pages ’08, the Apple equivalent of Microsoft Word, has one-click export of files into Word or pdf format, and iWeb beats any other website creation program I’ve used, with a very low learning curve.  Even the iPod classic I’ve started using is immensely easier to organize and enjoy than my mother’s Zune or my first mp3 player (a Sansa).  

I haven’t even tapped the full potential of the software, though I can access any number of video tutorials from the Apple website or iTunes–most in quickly digestible 3-7 minute lengths.  

There are a few drawbacks to Mac.  The price is a little steep (but well worth every penny), program availability is sometimes an issue (had a hard time finding a decent content filter), and the current company drive to create tiny products isn’t always good (the nanos & Airbook are much too easy to lose or break).   

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Eco-Tech & Military Spending

I’ve been enjoying the series “Futureweapons” lately. Recent episodes have highlighted the military’s investments in unmanned vehicles (UAVs, etc.) like the Skyhawk and Predator. I don’t think most people realize how much good comes out of military spending, and how often technologies pioneered with the DoD have formed the basis for modern civil advancements, many of which save lives.

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In the case of unmanned vehicles, military spending stands to endow the civilian world with technologies that will drastically cut down on pollution, waste, and fossil fuels (thus also driving down energy costs). The Skyhawk system is a 12 lb. UAV that allows aerial scouting of terrain. It is battery operated, fits in a backpack, and can safely land almost anywhere. Imagine small fleets of these operated by city news organizations. Rather than belching out expensive fuel from manned traffic copters, Skyhawks can capture news stories and monitor traffic, and if one goes down, it’s far less likely to result in fatalities. Skyhawks could also be mounted with instruments for scientific research and the monitoring of forest fires and other disaster areas.

The Army is also preparing unmanned helicopters for service–choppers that can safely deliver supplies or perform med-evac or rescue operations. Since you’re no longer having to carry the added weight of 1-2 pilots and bulky, human-oriented navigation equipment, less weight must be moved, and therefore less fuel consumed. In the case of the Skyhawk, we’re eliminating fossil fuels completely, as the craft operates on a battery that could be charged with solar power.

In addition to the obvious advantages of cutting both the materials used in building vehicles and slashing fuel consumption, robotic vehicles remove human pilots from danger, and are so easy to operate they would slash the costs of now expensive aviation training (thereby allowing human resources to be allocated more efficiently).

Over 4,000 robotic vehicles are currently in use in Iraq, and are saving lives in myriad ways, including the removal of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and land mines. In a world in which land mines cover 80,000 sq. miles, and cause loss of limbs and lives (most of them in Africa–26 in Mozambique alone last year), U.S. military spending again offers life-saving help.

Speaking of life-saving, in a future post I’ll detail the non-lethal weapons being pioneered by the DoD.

He is the Resurrection and the Life!

All praise and honor, glory and power, to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Alleluia!   laughing-jesus.jpg    

Alternate Candidates 08, Redux

I featured an entry on Cobra Commander’s bid for the presidency earlier in the primary cycle.  As luck has it, a new promo video hit the interwebs recently.  Behold, the Cobra SuperDelegates:

You Paid For It

Have you checked your government’s budget lately? “Parade” magazine published a partial chart of federal outlays for the last fiscal year. The top three expenses; Social Security ($615 billion), Defense ($583 billion), and Medicare ($389 billion). Those are the dollar figures Parade provides. You’ll get a different figure if you look at the actual report.

Here’s the whole document, if you’d like some reading to get you to sleep tonight.

A certain group of people will decry the expenditure on Defense. But what does that expense really involve? It’s not primarily “guns and bombs” [the “procurement” portion of spending–$133.5 billion]. Mind that “procurement” also includes acquisition of many vehicles and supplies that have non-aggressive–even life-saving–functions. Examples would be the procurement of medical equipment used to treat troops and the foreign civilians, refugees, and natural disaster victims that are aided by our military’s humanitarian campaigns.

In fact, a substantial portion of the Defense Budget, larger than the “procurement” outlay, is spent training, feeding, and housing the troops and their families. VA care is lumped under Social Security spending, and accounts for $38 billion dollars, but let’s face truth–it’s military spending. Defense spending includes FBI expenditures, scientific research and development, and compensation for veterans exposed to radiation or energy related “occupational illness”. In other words, if you eliminate or drastically reduce such spending, you are working against the advancement of social justice.

Liberal fans of “universal healthcare”, public education, and state food and housing assistance should be big fans of military spending, because it provides those to troops, their spouses, and their children. It’s the closest thing we have to socialism, in some ways.

How’s that for unconventional thinking? Of the top three federal expenses, we get the most benefit from military spending (as the other two predominantly target the elderly, who have passed their prime in terms of material contributions to the community). I know I might be sounding a bit like a utilitarian here (which I am not–a person’s worth has far less to do with your “material contributions” than society thinks) but I’ll be making my case periodically with future mini-posts.

In fact, military R&D stands to drastically cut carbon emissions and fuel expenses…I can’t imagine the angst that’ll be unleashed when global warming alarmists find out military spending may be one of our best hopes for curbing carbon emissions!

It’s Palm Sunday…

…hail to the King! 

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Red Stripe–Not my favorite beer…

…but a damn funny commercial.