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A Photo I Wish I’d Taken

Dolomiten01.jpgThis was taken from a German-made rigid-wing hang glider called the ATOS (one of which sits in my garage at home) and is looking out toward the Dolomites in Italy. Spectacular. Notice the carbon-fiber D-cells making up the leading edge, as well as the ribs. This wing has a 42-ft. wingspan, yet weighs only about 83 lbs and can be transported on top of your EVIL SUV (The one shown here is a flex wing. Rigids are twice as wide, but the same length). A far cry from the lawn darts they used to pioneer this sport in the '70s. This model of glider has flown cross-country record distances in excess of 400 miles (I did mention that it has no engine?).

This photo was reminiscent of a spectacular flying day a few years ago near Dunlap, CA (40 miles or so east of Fresno). Launch was from a ridge at about 4,000 ft MSL. That day, lift was to about 10,000 ft. When topped out, I was virtually looking down on King's Canyon. Too bad I didn't have a camera.

Science 1; Luddites 0

WorldNetDaily: Stem-cell cloning bill to become law Sunday?

Potentially good news for the marginalized few of us who hold science, knowledge, progress, and the mind and inherent goodness of man far above the frightful ignorance, superstition, and hand-wringing that takes place in this "Demon Haunted World" in which we live.

…Actually Thinking? …Priceless

Thinking is a rare privilege, is it not? It’s difficult for me to come to any other conclusion as I observe what goes on in public here and abroad. I mean, it’s just so damned rare to catch a glimpse of what would pass for sincere, independent and rational thought that this faculty must be at least equivalent to the most priceless of treasures we can imagine.

Indeed.

How else can it be that so many have the apparent incapacity to make the distinction between a common foot soldier, platoon commander, pilot or aircrew and a murderous and despotic former head-of-state? According Saddam Hussein the respect and dignity we accord to a true prisoner of war is absurd. The Geneva Conventions were never intended to apply to this situation. In actuality, the Geneva Conventions exist mostly as a very important component of troop morale, just as does the battlefield principle of leaving no man behind. Troops abhor the thought of physical torture only slightly less than the thought of their remains not finding a proper resting place.

Principles don’t exist in a vacuum. They apply to a context of facts and circumstances, and it is the exercise of the mind, i.e., the engagement of rational thought that leads us to the proper application of principles to circumstances. There are good reasons why we don’t (or at least claim not to) mistreat our citizens and those combatants we have taken prisoner.

There are no particularly compelling reasons to treat Saddam Hussein with kit gloves other than as it applies to what he can do for us. And if you can’t buy that, then at least see that “mistreating” this particular blight on humanity is a far lesser injustice than is the injustice of elevating him to the status of respect and honor due soldiers.

Silence

I'd call my silence over the last, oh, 2 weeks a pretty good indication that I'm not going to be doing much posting or blogging just for the thrill of it. We'll see.