Monday, May 30, 2005

A Memorial Day Tribute

This nation owes a large debt to all those that have fought so that the United States might remain free. As the saying goes, Freedom isn’t free. It has a price – blood.

Now we are engaged in a great global war testing whether or not the forces of darkness or the forces of light will prevail. There are those, if they could push a button and annihilate the western world, would do so in a heartbeat.

Against those evil ones, we have sent a phalanx of airmen, marines, soldiers and sailors. Tragically, in war people die. Noble and just as this war is, we must never forget the cost in human lives.

Click on the thumbnail for a very small tribute to those that have fallen in the defense of this nation. It's a rather big download, but I hope you find it worth the effort.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Posted by Ted on 05/30/05 11:00 PM | Link

Letter to the Editor

The Press of Atlantic City had an editorial that motivated me to write a response. I doubt they will print it in it entirety, so I post it here.

On Memorial Day, we honor those that have fallen in the line of duty. But the Press can’t bring itself to that without criticizing the troops’ mission. All the myopic Press can see if Vietnam. The Press says it is no disservice to question the mission because they know it IS a disservice. The troops and the mission are one. You cannot genuinely criticize one without dissing the other.

Reading the Press editorial off the net, our enemies will say to themselves, “Allah be praised! We’re winning! Those American infidels are loosing their nerve. Bin Laden was right. The U.S. really is a paper tiger. They will soon quite the battlefield and Iraq will be ours.”

The Press editorial brought aide and comfort to our enemies. There’s a word for that.

Clearly I can expect to read no good news about the war in the local paper.

If this were World War II and the Battle of the Bulge was on, they would be saying we should ask Hitler for his terms of surrender.

Posted by Ted on 05/30/05 9:45 AM | Link

Casualty Rates

StrategyPage has a post on Casualty Rates for various wars.

Wars aren't as lethal as they used to be. World War II killed some hundred million people (troops and civilians). Nothing since then has even come close, and the casualty count, for all wars, has declined every decade since the 1940s. This has been particularly true with the United States. During World War II, over 200 American troops were killed in combat every day of the war. During the Korean war, about 30 American troops died each day of the war. During the Vietnam war, it was about 14 a day. For the war in Iraq, it's about two a day. For the war in Afghanistan, it's less than one a week. The reasons are pretty simple. American troops are better protected, better trained, have better medical care and more firepower. The result is that the enemy doesn’t get many opportunities to get an accurate shot in, and while they are trying to do that, U.S. soldiers are firing back more frequently and accurately. Thus in Iraq, about 15 enemy troops die for each American. War is still dangerous, even for American troops. But the grandfathers of today’s soldiers and marines can only imagine how much easier it would have been for them during World War II if they had the advantages their combat ready grandchildren have.
Posted by Ted on 05/30/05 8:59 AM | Link

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Our Anniversary

Thirty-four years ago today the Vorlon Wife and I said our “I do’s” – to each other. I think I have gotten the better of that deal. However, for whatever reason, she has stayed and I am thankful for that.

Posted by Ted on 05/29/05 9:43 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Summer Starts

The Vorlon Wife and I went to the shore tonight – that being Ocean City, New Jersey. It was a little overcast when I took this photo, so I tried to brighten it up. I think I got a little carried away.

During the summer months into October we go to the shore about every other week – weather permitting.

Posted by Ted on 05/28/05 9:29 PM | Link

Seasonal Backyard Blogging

As you can see, the Dogwoods and Azaleas are done flowering. Now the Dogwoods are just trees and the Azaleas just bushes. Our Tulip tree, center left, is flowering. They are large, but not very spectacular flowers. If you look, you’ll see a bright pink trail that are the Impatiens the Vorlon wife has planted. They are doing very well. The thee white spots next to the pink trail are Peonies.

Posted by Ted on 05/28/05 3:06 PM | Link

Friday, May 27, 2005

Tanks really are handy in urban fighting

StrategyPage has a post on just how useful armored vehicles are good in urban combat. Many people think they are not, but this post indicates that assumption is false.

Good roads, a fast ride, big guns and a touch of boldness now give the edge to armored vehicles in urban areas. The conventional wisdom has long held that armored vehicles getting sucked into urban combat is a losing proposition. That was once true, but half a century of highway building has changed the battlefield, and the prospects for tanks fighting and winning inside a city.

Two years ago, columns of American armored vehicles dashed into Baghdad, fighting through any opposition they encountered, and shocked the enemy into collapse. What was generally ignored in studies of that operation is that, since World War II, most major cities have been rebuilt to be “vehicle friendly.” Cities have increasingly been built for rapid movement by automobiles, large trucks, etc. There are portions of Baghdad, or any other city, which are really restrictive in regards to the mobility of tanks, but urban geography in the last 60 years has, generally, tended towards becoming much more permissive to mechanized operations. Two years ago, the American attackers realized that, the Iraqi defenders did not.

Two years later, American troops still appreciate the usefulness of fast vehicles, and surprise. Hummers, even without armor, are still favored for many combat operations. Why? Because they are fast. The Stryker armored vehicle, much maligned for being a poor imitation of a tracked combat vehicle, gets high marks from its users because, in actual combat operations, the higher speed, and quiet operation, makes a big difference. While the enemy has tried to take advantage of the heavy American use of vehicles, the roadside bombs have not been a decisive weapons. The Americans still rule the roads, go wherever they want, and give much more hurt than they get doing it.

Posted by Ted on 05/27/05 8:05 PM | Link

Friday Flowerblogging

Tonight we have a Rhododendron. They are currently at their peak and won’t last long. We have two large ones. One on either side of the side porch. But we need to keep on top of them or they take over. They will need trimming this year to keep them under control. The problem with trimming them is one reduces the flowers for next year. It appears they set flower buds for next year, while they are flowering this year.

Posted by Ted on 05/27/05 7:56 PM | Link

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Iraqi News you won't find in the MSM

StrategyPage, as usual, as a well grounded take on what's happening in Iraq.

The al Qaeda organization in Iraq is coming apart. Two years of effort to build an informer network, and train and organize an Iraqi police force and army, have paid off. There are more leads coming in than the Iraqis and Americans can act on. But there are enough Iraqi police and SWAT teams to raid the most likely targets. There are enough Iraqi police to allow American troops to move into rural areas of western Iraq that have been left to anti-government Sunni Arab tribes for the last two years. The shock of these attacks over the last few months has led to the capture of several senior al Qaeda leaders in Iraq, and the capture of many documents and computer files. This led to even more raids, and the capture of more leads. The al Qaeda response was to carry out as many suicide attacks as possible, as soon as possible. This was driven partly by necessity, because more bomb workshops were being raided, so the stockpile of car bombs had to be either used, or the police would capture them. Now, many of those workshops are being captured. Although some are car repair operations that do suicide car bombs on the side, in plain sight, many of these are being turned in by informers, who then collect a reward. While the rewards for tips works, the desire to eliminate the terrorist attacks is an even greater incentive.
Posted by Ted on 05/26/05 9:15 PM | Link

The Photos are Posted

I finally got all our photos from our trip on the Skyline Drive posted. You can click here to view them.

I took 174 photo's on the trip. Of these I boiled down to about two dozen that I posted on my web site. I hope you find them enjoyable.

Posted by Ted on 05/26/05 8:43 PM | Link

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Michael Jordan

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan

Posted by Ted on 05/25/05 3:03 PM | Link

Pat Tillman and Friendly Fire

StrategyPage has a snippet on Pat Tillman and friendly fire.

In April 2004, former professional football player Pat Tillman, an infantryman serving with the Rangers, was killed in Afghanistan. Later, it was revealed that he was the victim of friendly fire. This became something of a media controversy, with the army accused of attempting a cover-up, and less charitable observers saying Tillman was killed by American troops on purpose. What was missed in all this was the historical reluctance of combat troops to admit to friendly fire, or even talk about it. This goes back to colonial days. Battlefields are chaotic places, and “friendly fire” has always been yet another danger in an already risky business. When the friendly fire came from people who knew the victim, there was a temptation to cover it up. Not so much to avoid punishment, which was rarely a consideration. The main reason was to spare the victim’s family the additional grief, and to make it easier on the guys who caused the death (or thought they did.) There were other deceits on the battlefield, like the delay in reporting a missing (and most likely dead) man as dead. This allowed his wife or family to continue getting his pay for a while. When the death was finally reported, the dead man’s friends would often lie to the next-of-kin, saying that they found the body and buried it (rather than reported "missing and presumed dead.")

In combat, an infantry soldier survives with the help of the other grunts in his unit. Squads and platoons are like families. Individuals may have their differences, but when in danger, everyone pulls together. It’s like the team spirit in athletics, but much more so. Combat is all about the real and immediate danger of death or mutilation. Stress is high, and desperate men will do desperate things. These lies and deceptions are not the sort of thing veterans will talk openly about. But the tradition, so to speak, continues. It’s much more difficult to cover-up a friendly fire incident these days. There are far fewer combat deaths, and the army surgeons will usually note, and report, evidence that an American soldier was killed by American weapons. There’s also a lot more media in the combat zone, although the soldiers who knew a victim of friendly fire are likely to clam up when a reporters shows up. Friendly fire not only kills the victim, it’s a major emotional hit to all the victims’ fellow soldiers.

Posted by Ted on 05/25/05 6:13 AM | Link


I came across this piece of software called ColorWasher. Scroll down the screen and look at the examples. They are pretty startling. I downloaded it last night, but so far, I can’t seem to get it to load.

I guess I’m going to have to read the manual – sigh.

UPDATE: I fixed the link

Posted by Ted on 05/25/05 6:06 AM | Link

Monday, May 23, 2005

More on my High Probability Selling Course

I had my 3rd High Probability Selling class today. I’m scheduled for 12 classes over six weeks. Today we had the assignment of developing three sales scripts for calling prospects. Here are the three scripts I came up with.

This is Ted Armstrong with Eastern Business Solutions. I sell Microsoft Great Plains accounting software. It keeps track of all customer orders and what inventory you have on hand. Is this something you want?

This is Ted Armstrong with Eastern Business Solutions. I sell Microsoft Great Plains accounting software. It uses the Microsoft database and comes in a modular design. Is this something you want?

This is Ted Armstrong with Eastern Business Solutions. I sell Microsoft Great Plains accounting software. It is a division of Microsoft and lets you limit user access to sensitive information. Is this something you want?

The instructor complimented me on how well my offers were clearly stated.

Some interesting data from the instructor today. He said that if you meet with a prospect before they’re ready to buy, the chances they will ever buy from you are greatly reduced.

The instructor went on to highlight some of their superstar graduates. One is a real estate agent that makes $1.6 million per year after all expenses.

Posted by Ted on 05/23/05 8:35 PM | Link

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Steve Pavlina's Blog

Here’s a blog you might want to look at. Steve is one of those over-achievers. He’s always blogging about how to improve ones performance.

While I don’t always agree with him, I have put him into my RSS feed and find his ideas thought provoking.

Posted by Ted on 05/22/05 7:49 PM | Link

Return to Base

We spent the weekend with friends in Virginia and we have just arrived home. We drove down Friday night and came back late this afternoon. It was about 3:45 each way. We made good time.

While there, our hosts took us on the Skyline drive. I shot about 175 photos. The nice thing about a digital camera is you can just bang away as much as you want and it doesn’t cost a thing.

In many cases, I’m going to have to stitch together multiples to give a panoramic shot. In other cases I was experimenting and, let’s just say, the experiment failed. They’ll be deleted.

It’s going to take a while for me to put them up for viewing. When a have a good assortment on the web, I’ll link it here.

Stay tuned.

By the way, did anything important happen in my absence?

Posted by Ted on 05/22/05 7:40 PM | Link

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

This is one of the Vorlon Wife’s Azalea’s. I particularly like the color pattern on these. They are pale pink with red freckles and bits of white.

Although I really like the frayed border on my pictures, I thought this photo looked best with a straight frame.

Posted by Ted on 05/20/05 7:28 PM | Link

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Battle of the Senate

There seems to be much ado about the current fight in the Senate about Bush’s judicial nominations. Many seem to be surprised that there is such animosity between the Democrats and the Republicans.

I am not a bit surprised. Both sides are just representing their constituents. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, of which I are a charter member, wants to run rough shod over the Democrats

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, dark and evil that it is, wants to block the Republicans at all costs. They feel like they are laying down before a column of bulldozers. Kennedy is close to blowing a gasket all by himself.

Posted by Ted on 05/19/05 10:05 PM | Link

American Idol?

I have not watched American Idol. I am only vaguely aware of what the whole premise of the show is. From time-to-time, I see some bloggers commenting on it and I happen to catch snippets in the news.

I’m afraid my TV watching habits have put me out of touch with current culture.

I like to watch Fox News with Brit Hume at 6:00 pm, if I get home in time. If I’m surfing, I like to watch “What Not to Wear” and “In a Fix” on TLC, but only if I happen to be channel surfing when they’re on. Otherwise, I may watch something on the History Channel, if I happen to be interested in what they are showing.

I feel like I’m about thee sigma off the mean.

Posted by Ted on 05/19/05 9:40 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Retaking the High Probability Selling course

I’m retaking my High Probability Selling course. They let you repeat the course for one-half the original price.

You may wonder why I’m repeating the course. Well, it didn’t take the first time. I thought I might post some notes from the course as I go through it.

In my class there are a couple of insurance agents, a couple of financial advisors, a real estate agent, and a couple of people selling something called docStar.

The instructor typified the market strata as follows

Don’t need, don’t’ want
Need, don’t want, can’t afford
Need, want, can’t afford
Need don’t want
Need, don’t want, may want later
Need, want, may buy later
Need, want, will buy now

A High Probability salesperson tries to only deal with prospects in the last category. The HP salesperson does not try to convert anyone to a HP prospect. The job of an HP salesperson is to sort through prospects as quickly as possible to find those HP prospects. Sort of like going through a deck of cards looking for just the Aces.

The instructor said there are two poison words: interest and interested. Even worse are prospects that are very interested.

The course is twice a week for six weeks. Retaking the course reminds me of a quote from a manager, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Posted by Ted on 05/17/05 8:56 PM | Link

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek's in the thick of it

Newsweek seems to have been caught printing news before they were completely sure it was true. The wrote that U.S. military personnel flushed a Qur’an down a toilet at Guantánamo in Cuba.

It now seems the report was untrue. Further, thanks to Newsweek’s timely work, 15 people have died. American prestige in the Muslim world has been greatly reduced and more deaths, some American service men and women, could happen.

I don’t understand Newsweek’s motivation. Even if they new it was true, why print the story? Are these smart people so clueless that can’t foreseen what might happen?

Are these the same people that rail against bloggers (no fact checking) and talk show hosts?

They have blood on their hands and nothing they can do will wash it out. Like Lady Macbeth before them, not all the washing in the world will clear their hands of this blood.

I can make only one conclusion, they want the U.S. to fail in Afghanistan and Iraq. The editors of Newsweek can never be accused of being pro American nor can one accuse them of being patriotic. They will do whatever they can to hurt this country.

As the man said, they are not the opposition; they are on the other side.

If I could talk to them directly, I think I know what I’d say. I’d tell them, “What you did was wrong. It hurt our military, it hurt our country and people are now dead because of your actions. You can argue all you want about your culpability, but this fact is clear. Had you not reported what you did, people now dead would still be alive.

I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that somewhere in that miserable brain of yours there is a conscience. When you lay down tonight to sleep, you’re going to recall what you did. You’re going to realize that what you did was wrong and you are responsible for 15 deaths. You will also know you’ve rung bells that cannot be unrung.”

Posted by Ted on 05/16/05 7:53 PM | Link

Are Blogs Really like Talk Radio?

When I was out cutting the grass, tonight a thought occurred to me. Blog are really very much like talk radio.

I mean, what is the difference between a blog and talk radio? In talk radio, someone gets on the radio and pontificates over the airwaves. People call in and give their thoughts and reaction to what the radio host is saying.

In a blog, someone pontificates in his blog. People read what he writes and post their comments to his blog. There is a difference in the medium, blogs can show pictures and give video and audio, but the basic mechanism is the same.

Where am I wrong here?

Posted by Ted on 05/16/05 9:57 AM | Link

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Edges on Pictures

I while back I mentioned The Plugin Site had something they call Edge & Frame Galaxy. They have a free download of a few samples for testing.

I downloaded and tried to use them, but couldn’t seem make it work. Today I sat down and it worked flawlessly. You can see a sample on the right.

If I buy their CD, it has 1,600 different edge and frame designs.

The only challenge I’m finding with this is I’ve learned to do a pretty good job of cropping the picture in the camera’s viewfinder. These different frame and edge designs eat a quite a bit of real estate from the photo. That’s going to take a bit of getting used to.

Posted by Ted on 05/15/05 12:57 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Does Abortion cause Premature Births?

It seems a recent study of over 2,800 births found that for those mothers that previously had an abortion, the chances of their baby being born prematurely increased quite a bit. Here's the money quote . . .

A French study of 2,837 births - the first to investigate the link between terminations and extremely premature births - found that mothers who had previously had an abortion were 1.7 times more likely to give birth to a baby at less than 28 weeks' gestation. Many babies born this early die soon after birth, and a large number who survive suffer serious disability.
Posted by Ted on 05/14/05 8:27 PM | Link

Seasonal Backyard Blogging

Here is the backyard as of this morning. Although the Dogwoods are still in bloom, they are past their peak and dropping petals. I expect that by next week they will be done. We haven’t had rain in two weeks and the grass is starting to show the effects.

I cut the hedge this morning and with this little rain, I expect it won’t need cutting for another couple of weeks. I still enjoy spring and the intense green color the world takes on.

It sure beats winter.

Posted by Ted on 05/14/05 2:26 PM | Link

A Grackle has Breakfast

124_2421.jpgWe have put out the birdbath. In our case, we have the top to a ceramic birdbath we purchased many years ago. I just set it on the ground and fill it with water. I find it as an entertainment center. I like to watch the bird activity around it.

This morning I saw a Grackle walk across the yard with a piece of bread in his beak. He hopped up on the edge of the birdbath and then dipped the bread into the water. He did this several times.

Once the bread was softened to his liking, he flew away - presumably to devour it.

Posted by Ted on 05/14/05 9:24 AM | Link

Lack of Sleep can be dangerous

StrategyPage has on interesting post on lack of sleep in war.

The use of stimulants to keep troops awake is becoming common. But while they keep you awake, they don’t preserve your cognitive ability or judgment. In the field, it’s been found that if troops are using stimulants to keep awake, the incidence of friendly fire incidents goes up, as a result of reduced perception and judgment combined with an increased impulse to act. The ability to determine friend from foe and “right” from “wrong” can disappear entirely in as little as 24 hours without sleep. “Muscle memory,” however, does not degrade so quickly. A study of Special Operations personnel has determined that their ability to hit targets does not diminish much even after 60 hours without sleep. However, after only about 24 hours without sleep the troops totally lost the ability to distinguish innocent from foe. Despite this, they “killed” every target that came into view. Although mileage may vary, for most people getting less than six hours sleep in 24 hours reduces cognitive abilities by about 15-percent. Try that for four days and you’ll be down about 70-percent. Recovery of full cognitive abilities can take several days of “proper” sleep (7-8 hours).

In addition to being a very serious problem for troops in the field, loss of sleep can seriously impede the decision-making abilities of commanders. In an age of global 24/7 operations, staff and senior personnel ought to be aware of the potential deleterious effects of lack of sleep on their ability to take an effective part in activities such as conference calls or video-teleconferences.

I have long contended that lack of sleep is detrimental to performance. In my line of work, a foggy brain seriously degrades my problem-solving ability.

Posted by Ted on 05/14/05 8:48 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

I’ve been trying to get this photo for some time. It is the Vorlon Wife’s Dogwood with one of her red Azaleas in the background. If I had a more expensive camera with a better lens, the background would be more blurred.

However, I still like this photo. It’s not perfect, but what can you expect from a two-mega pixel camera? For the most part, I have not thought too hard about upgrading the camera. I have considered upgrading my photo software.

As you can tell, I'm enthralled with, what I call, a torn border. I just wish I had more different versions of it.

Posted by Ted on 05/13/05 7:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)


I happen to look out my office window and there is a pair of Kingbirds in the Crabapple tree. The white band on the end of their tail makes them pretty easy to identify. We seem to get Kingbirds every year. The Crabapple tree is done flowering, so it’s lost much of its beauty.

Still, the Kingbirds are unusual enough to be interesting.

Posted by Ted on 05/13/05 12:39 PM | Link

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Who needs life insurance?

It turns out that rich people need life insurance more than you and I.

I was chatting with my insurance agent this afternoon and he told me about a client that is worth probably $80 million. This person is taking out a life insurance policy worth probably $40 million.

One might wonder why someone with that kind of net worth would take out a life insurance policy worth that much money. This individual is taking the policy out to pay inheritance taxes. Life insurance proceeds to heirs are not taxed.

By taking out this insurance policy, this fellow gives his heirs the money to pay their inheritance taxes. That way they can keep the other assets that will be bequeathed to them.

The problem with inheriting those assets is Uncle Sam wants his part of the inheritance. In order to pay the chunk of money, these assets must be sold for cash. But the buyers will find out the heirs are selling the assets, like a building, to pay inheritance taxes. Knowing this, potential buyers can make a very favorable deal.

This hits the heirs twice. Not only do they have to pay inheritance taxes, but the assets they must sell to pay those taxes are now worth less money on the open market.

So the smart money buys life insurance just to pay inheritance taxes.

Posted by Ted on 05/11/05 7:53 PM | Link

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

President Bush Rocks the Georgians

Did you see the President’s speech in Georgia? Over 100 thousand people waited in the hot sun to hear him speak. It’s certainly a lot different that you see in Europe.

Bush is very popular with those that have lived under totalitarian regimes. This trip showed he meant what he said in his second inaugural speech.

What do we hear from the Democrats? Harry Reid called Bush a loser.

You should know, Harry. It takes one to know one.

Posted by Ted on 05/10/05 8:01 PM | Link

Those borders and frames on my photos

You know how much I love those faded borders I like to put on my photos. Well I found a site that has a Plugin of 1,600 different frames or borders available. Click here to see some examples. Just scroll down the page and click on the link that says View Examples. I think that even I could be sated with this selection.

Now my only concern is to make sure they work for my PaintShop Pro. I keep getting the feeling I should just bite the bullet and migrate to Adobe PhotoShop.

Posted by Ted on 05/10/05 11:12 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Monday, May 9, 2005

Icon's Story

A friend sent me this link and I thought I'd pass it on. It's rather humorous. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Posted by Ted on 05/09/05 9:28 PM | Link

North Korea's Nuclear Threat

StrategyPage has an excellent analysis of North Korea's nuclear bomb threat.

It’s unlikely that North Korea has nuclear warheads for its long range missiles. There has been much talk recently about North Korea actually testing the nuclear weapons it claims to have built. North Korea obtained a lot of the bomb making technology from Pakistan, although it appears that Pakistan has not been willing to share all the details of those deals with the United States. However, it’s nearly impossible to conceal a nuclear weapons test, because of all the satellite and seismic (earth movement detection monitors) installed world wide. Thus it is pretty certain that North Korea does not yet have a working nuclear weapon. Reports of North Korean plans to test one of its designs may well be true. If the North Korean nuclear weapons were based on Pakistani designs, there’s a good chance the North Korean weapons won’t work. It is known that several of the Pakistani designs fizzled when actually tested.

If the North Korean bomb design does work, the world will know it. But turning that bomb design into something that will work in a missile warhead, is a much more difficult task. A ballistic missile is a hostile environment for delicate devices, and a new nuclear bomb design is definitely delicate. It’s not known how much help, if any, North Korea has obtained from Pakistan on warhead design. Pakistan does not have a lot to offer, because they apparently have not perfected a nuclear missile warhead themselves. Another indicator of the difficulty of missile warhead design are the many reports of American, Russian and other countries that discovered serious flaws with their missile warhead designs after they believed they had gotten them to work. The problem with missile warheads is that it is dangerous to test them. The warheads contain highly radioactive material, and if the warhead does not detonate properly, that nuclear material gets splattered all over the landscape when the warhead hits the ground. If the missile itself has problems, that radioactive mess could come down in a populated area. Moreover, detonating a nuclear weapon in the atmosphere, which you have to do for a complete missile warhead test, makes you very unpopular in the international community. North Korea can’t really afford any more bad press, although they seem determined to go after it anyway.

North Korea has put a lot of its scarce technical and engineering resources into its missile and nuclear weapons programs. They do not have a lot of depth in this department, and even if they successfully test nuclear warhead, they then have to face the problem of successfully producing more of that design. These nuclear bombs and warhead are all hand built, not mass produced. It is not easy at all.

Posted by Ted on 05/09/05 11:08 AM | Link

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Blogosphere Code of Conduct

I saw a video of a blog meeting titled, “How to disagree without being disagreeable.” I was rather appalled at the whole thing. It struck me as most disagreeable.

This has motivated me to write what I call, The Blogosphere Code of Conduct (BCOC), or “How to Disagree without Being Disagreeable”. It is a set of do’s and don’ts. Here it is in no particular order.

Do be thick skinned. The anonymity of the Blogosphere leads some people to say things they wouldn’t dare say to your face. Ignore them. Their parents probably never taught them good manners.

Don’t call people names or generalize about them – even if you want to. Sometimes one is tempted to say, “Well you just say that because you’re an a**.” This does nothing to further the debate.

Do grant your opponent credit when he/she makes a valid point. In any debate, you’re going to win some points and lose some. Acknowledge the ones you lose and move on. It’ll really disarm your opponent.

Don’t just cut and paste from some other source into the comments section. If you’re not smart enough to summarize the point, you want to make 100 words or less, you’re out of your league. No one is going to read the whole thing and you’re point will be lost.

Do have a sense of humor. In a thick and heavy discussion, a little self-deprecating humor can lighten the whole atmosphere. Making a joke about yourself shows you’re your ego is not threatened by what others think or say about you. If you can’t make a job at your own expense, get counseling. Life is just too short not to have some fun occasionally.

Don’t speak in generalities be as specific as possible. To say, “This economy stinks,” says nothing. If you say, “The U.S. economy grew at only 0.5% in the last quarter and that is the lowest quarterly growth rate since 1863,” then you’ve made a specific point that your opponent will have to counter.

Do be truthful. You can lie and get away with it for only a short period. It is just too easy to fact check what you say in the Blogosphere and you’ll be found out. Lose your creditability and you blogosphereically dead.

This has grown to be longer than I wanted and it violates my own admonition to be brief. As Strunk and White say, “Omit needless words.” Therefore, here’s the Readers Digest version.

  • Be thick skinned
  • Don’t call people names
  • Grant your opponent a valid point
  • Don’t just cut and paste
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Be specific
  • Be truthful

If you feel I need to add or omit anything, I am open to suggestions.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Attack the arguement not the debater. You can challenge the logic and facts of an arguement, but refrain from personal attacks.

Posted by Ted on 05/08/05 7:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (8)

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Seasonal Backyard Blogging

This is our backyard as of this morning from our back upstairs window. I like to use this vantage point as it gives a good view of the yard.

You can see the leaves are starting to thicken on the trees. The Dogwoods are at their peak and will soon be done. If you look just to the left of the tree near the base, you can see a red Azalea blooming. The Azaleas are starting to really come on strong. Between the Dogwoods and Azaleas, South Jersey is really beautiful this time of year.

Posted by Ted on 05/07/05 8:00 PM | Link

Friday, May 6, 2005

Windows XP Downloads

I happen to stumble over this the other day. It’s several free downloads that Microsoft has for Windows XP. Just click here to download them.

I have just downloaded and tried the ClearType Tuner. It’s supposed to make reading text on your monitor easier. It says it’s for flat screen monitors, but I have a regular CRT type and I tried it.

I have to say, I think it improved the display. I’m really quite surprised. I recommend you give it a try.

Here’s the list of what they call “Power Toys.”

ClearType Tuner
This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

HTML Slide Show Wizard
This wizard helps you create an HTML slide show of your digital pictures, ready to place on your Web site.

Open Command Window Here
This PowerToy adds an "Open Command Window Here" context menu option on file system folders, giving you a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder.

Alt-Tab Replacement
With this PowerToy, in addition to seeing the icon of the application window you are switching to, you will also see a preview of the page. This helps particularly when multiple sessions of an application are open.

Tweak UI
This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.
Version 2.10 requires Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2003.

Power Calculator
With this PowerToy you can graph and evaluate functions as well as perform many different types of conversions.

Image Resizer
This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a right-click.

CD Slide Show Generator
With this PowerToy you can view images burned to a CD as a slide show. The Generator works downlevel on Windows 9x machines as well.

Virtual Desktop Manager
Manage up to four desktops from the Windows taskbar with this PowerToy.

Taskbar Magnifier
Use this PowerToy to magnify part of the screen from the taskbar.

Webcam Timershot
This PowerToy lets you take pictures at specified time intervals from a Webcam connected to your computer and save them to a location that you designate.

Posted by Ted on 05/06/05 9:04 PM | Link

Friday Flowerblogging

These are the Vorlon Wife’s Bleeding Hearts. They’re a rather strange flower and hard to get a good photo. I think they look like underpants hanging on a close-line. But they do add a bit of color to the flower garden.

I’m including it here because of its unusualness.

Posted by Ted on 05/06/05 7:19 PM | Link

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Microsoft Live Meeting

I attended a Microsoft Live Meeting last Tuesday. It was a webinar with Chet Holmes as the speaker about marketing. I found it thought provoking.

This post however is not to just tell you about the webinar, it’s to tell you that Microsoft archives its live meetings. Click here to view all the live meetings they have archived.

There are all sorts of Live Meetings archived there. I see the one I attended is already archived.

Take a look and see what you think.

PS. Reb, if your reading this, there is one archived on 4/21/05 entitled "Lessons Learned from a First Time Author."

Posted by Ted on 05/05/05 9:26 PM | Link

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Flatworms to the Rescue

A recent article in Wired talks about the amazing little Planarian worm - flatworm. It seems this little fellow can regenerate almost his whole self from a small piece. If you take a piece as small as 1/279 of the worm, like some science fiction beast, it will re-grow into an entirely new worm.

In relating that to a 150 Lb man, it’s as if you took about nine ounces from him and from that, completely regenerated a new man. It’s an amazing feat.

People are studying this to see if they can figure out how the flatworm does this and apply that technology to tissue and limb regeneration in people.

I seem to remember that Starfish are similar. If you chop them up and thing, you just get more Starfish.

Posted by Ted on 05/03/05 9:32 PM | Link

Monday, May 2, 2005

Yesterday's Sermon

The Pastor yesterday morning used the passage from Mark 12:28-34. Here is an excerpt from the English Standard Translation.

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.".

Sometimes we just need someone to point something out and I thought this was a good point to make.

Christians many times get distracted by many peripheral items. In this passage, Jesus is spelling out the essence of Christianity.

It also points out the difficulty of fulfilling these two commands.

Posted by Ted on 05/02/05 8:15 PM | Link

One Ring to Rule Them All

The Vorlon Wife’s wedding ring became too small for her to wear. Very observant me, I quickly picked this up during a dinner conversation with some friends in which she said she could not longer wear her wedding ring. I looked and, sure enough, it was no longer on her hand.

Later I suggested we take it to a Dondero’s Jewelry and have it resized. She thought they’d have to melt it down and recast it. Being an engineer, I explained that I thought they’d just slice it through one side, pry it open and fill the gap with gold.

Gold is a marvelous metal to work with. Very soft with a low melting temperature and extremely malleable. Did you know that gold can be worked into a leaf that is one molecule thick? Consider that your Material Science lesson for the day.

Anywho, we went to Dondero’s, they sized her finger, and off it went. Her ring is a plain gold band. When we got our wedding rings, I opted of plain smooth design. Being the practical type I knew of gold’s softness and figured all the fancy designs would be mushed down over the years. I’m sure this mad resizing her ring easier.

A week later, we picked it up and it was good as new and fit perfectly – very shiny. It cost $45 plus tax. I thought that was a pretty fair price until the Vorlon Wife pointed out we only paid about $23 for her ring back in 1971.

Posted by Ted on 05/02/05 10:55 AM | Link

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Update on Reallionaire

I’ve been reading “Reallionaire” by Farrah Gray. It’s interesting. Farrah shows how as a young boy, seven or eight years old, he desired more than anything to make a lot of money so his mother didn’t have to work so hard.

Some of the lessons from the book are, you need to want it very badly – he did. He also was willing to take a lot of no’s. No matter how many times people hung up on him, he just kept dialing. Kids can be very persistent.

Many times he didn’t really know if he was doing the right thing or not, but he didn’t let it stop him. People say, “Knowledge is power.” Although that has some truth, it falls short. I think was Tony Robbins says is more accurate. Tony says, “Action is power.”

I know of someone that has a particular goal in mind. But from what I see that individual seems to be working around the edges of their goal, but not really attacking it.

I suffer from much of that same problem myself – physician heal thyself. I tend to work at the edges of a goal instead of really attacking it. I also tend to wait for perfect knowledge, when I should just do it and not wait.

Farrah also had a mentor.

I know of another very successful businessperson and, from what he has told me, he had a mentor. I don’t think he would have called this person a mentor, but he was.

Part of having a good mentor is listening and taking their advice.

Posted by Ted on 05/01/05 8:43 AM | Link