Bruce Momjian


Community Closing Europe's Harbors

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This Atlantic article makes strong case that, while migrants are often welcomed as refugees fleeing oppression, the fact is that most are prompted to migrate for economic reasons:

Across the European Union, 57 percent of residents express negative attitudes about immigration from outside the EU. Naturally, elected politicians take the popular view and promise sharp reductions in immigration. And yet, the reductions never come, because the EU has encoded refugee rights into laws and treaties that cannot easily be changed. As a result, migrants have enormous incentives to present themselves as refugees. In turn, those European elites who favor higher levels of migration pretend to believe them. Altogether, the realities of trans-Mediterranean immigration are thus tightly swaddled in lies.

This more recent article says the same thing.


Technology USB Attacks

Thursday, October 15, 2015

There were already security problems when using USB devices because safe USB devices can be reprogrammed to later issue insecure commands or deliver viruses. A new attack collects electricity from the USB port and sends it a burst to damage the motherboard of the devices it is plugged in to.

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Thoughts 10 Things to Know About Compulsive Hoarding

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This article is the best analysis of hoarding I have ever read.

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Community The End of Men: Video

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A video, The End of Men, has been produced based on the article of the same name I mentioned earlier. Focusing on repercussions of the economic downturn of 2008, it paints a similar picture of radical change for male employment. This quote by Lewis Schiff says it all:

There's been this period of time, sort of World War II up until maybe a couple of years ago, where you could have an expectation of, if you got a decent education, get a college degree, get a good job at a corporation, get this thing called a white-collar job, work nine to six, all these things would fall into place. That was just a period of time — it happens to be the period of time we lived in, but it was just a period of time. It wasn't true 100 years ago, and I am guessing it won't be true 100 years from now.

In addition, this article explains that future automation will reduce the need for male-dominated jobs even further.

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Technology How to Set Up a Just-Smart-Enough Smart Home

Monday, August 3, 2015

This article explains why simple is often better when add automation to a home. This user comment says it best, "Imagine how revolutionary the light switch would seem if until now we'd all been forced to control our lights through our iPhones."

Update: Another article about smart home challenges 2015-08-06

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Community Greeks, Economists Part Ways On Benefits of Eurozone

Sunday, August 2, 2015

This article explains the craziness of Greece's handling of the Euro crisis better than anything else I have read. It is a bad sign when a country trusts outsiders more than their own leaders, but to some level it is realistic:

But there is a broader fear among many Greeks about how well they would be governed without the anchor and the discipline of the euro.

It isn't just that people don't trust Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to govern well without external constraints; it is that they are doubtful of any Greek government having the wherewithal to manage their affairs competently.

This desire for an external anchor isn't limited to Greece. For decades, Italians, among others, were happy to have important aspects of their government outsourced to Brussels in the belief that their affairs would be handled more impartially and more competently there.

While Brussels' reputation has been eroded by poor management of the euro crisis, for many it is still regarded more highly than their own national political classes.

Update: Here is further analysis of the issue. 2015-08-03

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History The Day I Discovered My Grandparents Survived a Genocide

Thursday, July 16, 2015

This article explains the complexities of growing up in the USA as an Armenian immigrant.

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Technology Sony is no longer an electronics company

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This article explains the tragic end of Sony as an electronics company. I have been very negative about Sony for decades because of their poor product quality and high prices (excluding their professional electronics division), but it seems this has finally caught up with them, and it is too late for them to recover. At some point, attractive product design just isn't enough. The last paragraph says it all:

For everyone else, this is kind of depressing — Sony was among the first great consumer electronics companies, and now it's falling apart because smartphones and software completely subsumed almost every device in its catalog. Sony's phones are generally excellent now, but haven't seen nearly the kind of traction Samsung's phones have seen. Sony also made the cardinal error of trying to foist garbage software and services on people. That error is slowly being corrected; most Sony devices now run basically clean versions of Android, and Sony just killed its in-house music streaming service in favor of Spotify. But it's too little, too late: the customers Sony needs have been buying Samsung products for too long now.

All the Japanese electronics manufacturers are having problems, but the decline of Sony is the most extreme.

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Thoughts I'm There

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This devotional article has a powerful message.

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Technology The Internet of Things You Don't Really Need

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This thoughtful article questions the value of interconnected devices.

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Technology Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really)

Monday, March 16, 2015

This is an excellent article about the impact of fossil fuels, and their future.

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Technology Nuclear Weapons Control Systems

Friday, January 30, 2015

I have always been interested in the USA's nuclear weapons control systems because they are designed for the ultimate in reliability. Recently declassified videos expose the details of this historically secret system. I have grouped the videos into categories, with the Strategic Air Command command-and-control details first, then the missile facilities, launch, and silo videos, and finally the strategic nuclear bomber force. You will see the red and gold phones, the underground control rooms, and the trucks used to get the missiles in and out of their silos. The dramas are particularly interesting because they show the entire system working in a simulated attack.

While many of these videos are over fifty years old and show technology that has certainly been improved, the basic processes have not changed. (You can see this in cases where there are old and new videos on the same topic.) There are even more videos available.

Strategic Air Command (sac) Headquarters

SAC Simulation Dramas

Missile Launch Control Facility

Missile Launch Control Center (Underground)

Missile Silo Launch Facility

Ballistic Missile Technology

Strategic Alert Bombers

Annual Reports

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Technology Weather Underground

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My wife has been saying Weather Underground is more accurate in predicting the weather than the National Weather Service for two years now. In the most recent storm, Weather Underground predicted the magnitude of the snow storm accurately days before, while the National Weather Service had wildly-inflated estimates even the night before. Our local National Weather Service staff have since apologized for their inaccuracy. My family is now switching to the Weather Underground for future weather prediction needs.

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Community Local Ethnic Food Stores

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I realized yesterday that we regularly visit a wide variety of ethnic food stores. They were not easy to find so I wanted to share the list:

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