Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just the Facts Please, Ma’am

I love facts.

So even if we could strip away 100% of the health insurance industry's profits, it would only save patients between $100 and $200 per year in health insurance costs.

So if I pay an extra $100-200 per year, can I keep the government away from me and my doctor?  Please?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New 9/11 Aerial Photos Released

Today, ABC released 12 of the thousands of new photos they obtained of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.

It’s amazing how viewing photos from that day makes me feel.  It’s a very sudden and strong reaction.  It’s usually a flood of varying emotions from extreme sadness, to pride, pity and intense anger.

The sadness that literally makes my heart hurt is usually brought on by images of the people fleeing, all covered in gray soot and ash, or of firefighters or other emergency workers racing to the buildings, some never to be seen again, or of the towers collapsing and knowing there are people dying inside at that very moment. 

The pride comes when I see the emergency workers doing their jobs so well.  We lost many that day, but so many more were saved.  It was truly amazing that more people didn’t die.  My dad was a firefighter for over 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me how heroic emergency workers are.  When we are facing death, they run in, seemingly unafraid.

The pity is for my country.  Within days of the attacks, it looked as though Americans would wise up and see reality before them, but it was not to last.  The singing congressmen on Capitol Hill gave way to finger pointing, more statism and loss of liberty.  The brotherly and sisterly love and respect we felt for our fellow Americans gave way to eminent domain threats in Pennsylvania to create a memorial for those those who fought and died on Flight 93.  (Fortunately, the government later backed off this decision.  Hopefully, they won’t change their mind again.)  And no one in government is doing what they need to do to protect our rights and prevent such an attack from occurring again.

The intense anger is for the enemy.  They are ignorant, hateful, and delusional.  Their irrational love for a god and heaven that does not exist blinds them all reality.  It would be an insult to animals to say that their behavior was animal-like.  They are truly inhuman.

Following the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the press considered burying the stories, photos and videos of that awful day.  They said we couldn’t take it.  They said it was too depressing.  I’m glad they didn’t.  We all need the constant reminder of the dangers of mysticism and irrationality, and the dangers of a big, out-of-control and ineffective government. 

We still haven’t learned our lesson.  We still haven’t corrected our mistakes.  I hope we continue to examine the photos, videos and the events of that day.  Let it be burned into our minds until we take action to ensure that it never happens again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mid Atlantic Snow Storm

Here is a cool time-lapse video of the mid Atlantic snow storm last weekend.  Thanks to Diana over at Noodlefood for bringing it to my attention.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Are Animals Volitional? The Orangutan and The Hound

Not only do I love this video because it brings a smile to my face, but it possibly answers the question; are animals volitional?

Many people argue that animals are not volitional, and that they act only on instinct.  They claim humans are the only volitional creatures on earth.  This video makes me question the accuracy of that logic.

The orangutan voluntarily gives half its food to the hound.  Why? 

I think the orangutan loves the the dog, values his friendship and the fun they have together.  As such, it is a value to the orangutan to bring the dog pleasure by feeding him.  I think the decision to feed the dog is a volitional one, not instinctual.

Granted, an orangutan is a highly developed, highly evolved primate, but it is not human, and I can’t help but wonder what evolution may have in store for other highly developed creatures.

I also think it’s important to point out that animals, no matter what level of volition they may evolve to have, do not deserve special rights or rights over those of human, individual rights, unless and until such a time comes that they understand what rights are and are able to respect them.  I don’t think that will happen anytime soon, for orangutans or otherwise.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Footage of Challenger Explosion

I can’t believe after all these years, amateur footage of the Challenger explosion has finally been found.

I’ve often wondered why the Challenger explosion hit us all so very hard.  I was just a young teenager when it happened, so I never really thought it through too much.  I wondered why so many men could die on the battle field, so many people die in car wrecks every day, yet when only 7 people died on the space shuttle that day, the whole world seemed to stop.  Why?

Now that I’ve been reading the works of the brilliant author and philosopher Ayn Rand,  I get it.

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” —Ayn Rand

When the shuttle exploded, we not only lost the lives of 7 pioneers, but we lost 7 heroes.  We felt like we lost a little bit of what is great in each of us.  All the brains, all the time, all the resources that went into building that shuttle and getting it off the ground, gone in an instant.

Fortunately, it was a temporary set back in the history of mankind.  We are now back in space and the shuttle program is nearly history.  Newer and better vehicles are being designed to take not only astronauts into space, but everyday Americans who can afford the ticket price.

(I can’t help but wonder how much farther along we’d be already if the government weren’t so heavily involved.)

The space program seems to be the very embodiment of everything that’s great and heroic about mankind.  It represents an extraordinary use of the human mind to produce and achieve.    There is no other creature roaming the planet that is as wonderful as man and his rational mind.

The temporary set back of the Challenger explosion saddened us for a time, and rightfully so, but we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and put our rational minds right back to work. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is There Anything Man Can’t Do?

This is really quite amazing video of Flight 1549 being raised out of the Hudson.  From the website:

Original Post with background and photos

Exclusive unseen time lapse video footage of the Miracle on the Hudson, US Airways flight 1549 as it is struggling to stay afloat and avoid the barrage of an ice attack. An unsung hero was the Airbus A320 which survived a crash landing, sinking and safely contained 155 Humans.

I shot these clips from a cheap compact Canon camera. The plane came to a strop outside my apartment here in NYC. Most of the footage on TV from CNN, NY Post, NBC and ABC was filmed from my apartment over those 3 days.

I seem to be the only one that captured the lift in time-lapse, i just regret I didnt have my Canon 5d Mark ii back then.