Sunday, June 28, 2009

bored . . .

Can't quite say why this is cracking me up so much, but I find it incredibly funny. Maybe it's my thorough experience with boredom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Modern Library Globe

I recently installed Google Earth (free version). It's the same satellite photos as you can see in Google Maps but presented in an extraordinary way. It's quite mesmerizing and addictive at first. I found that hours had passed without hardly noticing.

For the most part I've used it to revisit places I've been before. Vacations in Mexico or my Air Force tour of duty on the island of Mallorca. But I've also looked at sites of curiosity, such as the Pyramids, Rock of Gibralter, North Korea, the Matterhorn and others.

Google Earth has several fascinating features. The first is "Terrain" where it takes the two dimensional satellite photos and squish them down over elevation data giving a fair image of 3 dimensional mountains and landscape. The second is "point of view". The viewer's point of view can be turned to any horizontal degree of the compass, any vertical angle, and from any elevation. Combining this with Terrain yields some wonderful images. The other feature is taking this point of view and slowly moving it providing an impression of flying. This gives an increase to the presentation of 3 dimensional space. In fact the program incorporates a "Flight Simulator" where you alter the point of view through the controls of an airplane.

Another feature similar to Google Map is the incorporation of map markers linking you to other internet data. The best I think are the links to photos posted by ordinary people of the sites your looking at. Did you forget to capture a picture of the hotel while on vacation? No problem . . . "fly" there in Google Earth and "borrow" a photo some other vacationer snapped.

Some curiosities found by G-Earth;
  • There's a golf course right next to the Pyramids of Giza.
  • The classic cliff view of the Rock of Gibraltar is not the end of the peninsula that the ships sail past (also the Gibraltar airport is in a most fascinating location).
  • One thing that will hit you when looking at the capital of North Korea is the nearly complete lack of cars on the roads.

Pyramid Golf Course.

The Port of Soller, Island of Mallorca, Spain.

The Matterhorn.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama's Cairo Speech

Yes, I actually read the entire transcript. For the most part it could be summed up by a short audio clip of Cum-By-Yah, but I found it interesting to go through it trying to cut the rhetoric and find out just what actions he actually intends to do. It's still pretty long. I was forced to leave in some parts to explain what his intended actions refer to. I could make lots of comments on what I think of each part, but that would be my own rhetoric.

Breakdown of Obama's Cairo Speech transcript.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world;.

violent extremism

We will relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security.

it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries.

we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses

hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced.

we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August.

we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.

We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy.

I have prohibited the use of torture by the United States

I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed

situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states

I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires.

The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace,

rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


my commitment, to governments that reflect the will of the people.

the ability to speak your mind ...
a say in how you are governed...
rule of law ...
the equal administration of justice...
government that is transparent ...
(government that) doesn't steal from the people...
freedom to live as you choose.
(these are) human rights...
we will support them everywhere.

we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

religious freedom.

I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

women's rights.

the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls,

to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing

economic development and opportunity.

education and innovation ...
I am emphasizing such investments within my country.

And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education,
we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships,

we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America;

invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world;

create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development,
we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries.

I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology,
we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs.

We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia,

appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.

I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio.

we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

... the world we seek - a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected.