Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (5/11)

Just FYI, Winston Churchill didn’t really exist (which must come as quite the surprise to him). At least, that’s what one out of every five British teens seems to think. (And somehow Robin Hood’s existence ranked higher than Richard I, despite them both being part of the same story.)

A school in Washington saw an 85% drop in suspensions using a new discipline approach.

Paul Mirengoff considers why no early challenge came to Romney’s nomination, and why it took so long for Santorum to gather support. He writes, “I believe the explanation lies partly in the tendency of conservatives to exaggerate the importance of certain insights, to the detriment of their ability realistically to assess the candidates from a more holistic conservative perspective.”

This week Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney.

Obama’s reelection campaign is starting out ruthless. In the words of one commenter: “Obama has gone ‘forward’ all the way to the strategy of Walter Mondale. The president may persuade voters with this message, but he apparently has given up trying to inspire them. And this is not a small thing, since the Obama brand once consisted mainly of inspiration.”

The Obama campaign hit a snag in West Virginia this week. In the primary, 41% of Democratic voters went for Keith Judd, inmate at a Texas Federal prison.

We learn a lot about candidates from their political history, their friends, and their tough decisions. But what do we learn from their spouses?

For would-be dictators out there, here’s some good advice. Building a Death Star (as appealing as it sounds) isn’t worth it in a cost-benefits analysis. Instead, the author suggests considering the following:

1) Information Security. Wouldn’t it be nice if some too-dumb-to-talk 30 year old bucket of bolts couldn’t hack into the DS’s computer system in a few seconds? I would think so.

2) Troop Transportation. How does the US military get around in the desert? Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles. How do elite scouts of the future get around? On overgrown lizards. It’s just embarrassing.

3) More robots, please. I get it: the “Clone Wars” featured Republic clones vs the robot armies of the separatists, and the clones won. Still, though, some of those robots would be really useful in tactical situations, perhaps guided by clones on the ground.

4) More probe droids, please. After the Yavin debacle, the Empire sent out probe droids to scan remote systems. Why not keep a few loitering on every planet on a permanent basis? Then it would be lot harder for any rebellion to hide.

5) Practice, practice, practice. An entire legion of the Emperor’s best troops was defeated by a village of teddy bears fighting with sticks and stones. It’s just embarrassing. Clearly they needed better training in tactics, marksmanship, and hand-to-paw combat.

A radio enthusiast donated some old recordings to the Smithsonian, only to find them for sale online. He did his own investigating and uncovered thousands of stolen items.

In the 1980s, American Airlines began selling lifetime airline passes. It’s now seeking to get them revoked after losing millions.

This is a pretty incredible story about the US trained Iraqi troops now patrolling Iraq.

And finally, watch this to find out how to survive a robot attack (and then watch this).

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