PacRim Jim
Cogito ergo cogito
Since 1999
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Shattered    April 2014

America's a shattered nation,
Where groups fight for themselves.
No longer are we Americans at sea
On the proud liferaft America.
Now all that's heard is me and mine,
But never, we and ours.

— PacRim Jim
Epitaph for America    April 2014

All is tolerated, except tolerance.

— PacRim Jim
PacRim Jim's Iron Law of Personal Freedom    April 2014

The degree of personal freedom (PF) varies inversely with the population density (PD) multiplied by the degree of its interconnection (DI).

    PF = 1 / (PD x DI)

— PacRim Jim
Global Languages    April 2014

About the time children enter puberty, they permanently and naturally lose about half of the neurons in their brains. One result of this pruning back is that children are no longer able to learn to speak a foreign language like a native speaker; that is, without imposing the accent of their native language.
PRJ has a simple proposal that would mitigate the problem:
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a superset of symbols representing the unique sounds of all spoken languages, each of which uses only a small subset of the IPA. (For the full chart of the IPA, see http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/fullchart.html.)
If the pronunciations of the sounds of a dozen or so major languages with considerable international cultural significance were taught to prepubescent children, then they would later be able to learn the languages of well over half of the people in the world, without accent and without stumbling over non-native sounds like German umlauts and the Japanese sound intermediate between the English sounds 'R' and 'L'.
To that end, the following might comprise the first of languages whose sounds should be taught to children around the world:
English, Mandarin (Chinese), Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Swahili, Japanese, French, and German.
PRJ considers this to be an essential step in the evolution of the peaceful global culture and economy that we all wish for our children and their children.

— PacRim Jim
Geopolitics    February 2014

Three alpha dogs prowl a neighborhood.
Two dogs fight for dominance.
Winner?
The third dog.
Moral?
Be the third dog.

— PacRim Jim
Invention    February 2014

Man's greatest invention is language.

— PacRim Jim
Ctrl-Alt-Del    February 2014

As curious as PacRim Jim is to know what artificial intelligence-based products will eventuate later in century XXI, I'm glad I won't be around to witness the self-subjugation of humanity.
For I am programmed for life in a human-centered world and would fare poorly as a mere node of an omniscient, omnipotent, indifferent, and inscrutable central mind.
Ironically and sadly, the best-rewarded among us are those inexorably subjugating us, gadget by marvelous gadget.

— PacRim Jim
The Seductiveness of Socialism    February 2014

The seductiveness of socialism must be experienced anew by each generation, since it meshes so well with the easy answers of youth.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Iron Law of Socialism    February 2014

The more that socialism collapses the economy of a country, the more dependent the citizens of the country become on the very socialism that collapsed their economy.

— PacRim Jim
Govett's Zeroth Law of Robotics    February 2014

In 1942, Isaac Asimov propounded Three Laws of Robotics:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

However, because it is manifestly impossible for a sub-strong-AI robot to know the innumerable ways of harming a human being, let me adduce Govett's Zeroth Law of Robotics:
0. A robot must be exempted from Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics until the evolution of strong artificial intelligence capable of determining all possible ways of harming a human, at which time Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are to become irrelevant.

— PacRim Jim
Hungary?    February 2014

Hungary?
China – Turkey = Greece.

— PacRim Jim
A Wise Man    January 2014

A wise man distrusts his neighbor.
A wiser man distrusts both his neighbor and himself.
The wisest man of all distrusts his government.

— Taylor Caldwell, The Devil's Advocate
Three Quotes from Plato (4th. c., B.C.)    December 2013

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

Democracy passes into despotism.

Your silence gives consent.

— PacRim Jim
The Democrats    January 2014

The Democrats will help you
Will help you hate your neighbor
Will help you hate your family
Will help you hate your country
Will help you hate your race
Will help you hate your religion
Will help you into grinding debt
Will help you into helplessness
Will help your children, too
But in the end the benefit's
To Democrats, not you.

— PacRim Jim
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    December 2013

Internet
A free house with no curtains.

— PacRim Jim
Words    December 2013

Words are a net to catch beauty.

— Tennessee Williams
U.S. Foreign Policy in Islamistan    December 2013

What remains after you toss a pebble into a pond?
The pond.

— PacRim Jim
Keep the Kids Coming—Oder Else    November 2013

A few centuries ago, 25% of all humans lived (contentiously) in Europe, which led to endless war, which led to catalysis of science, technology, exploration, and emigration.
Hence the Western world.
Now about 10% of all humans live in Europe, and the percentage is nosediving, which will lead to a flood of more-reproducible immigrants into Europe and the transition of Europe to only hell knows what.
The lesson:
Keep the kids coming or it's sic transit gloria mundi.

— PacRim Jim
7 Reasons Not to Become a Vegetarian    November 2013

* Overflying birds empty their bowels on plants.
* Humans cover plants with layers of neurotoxic insecticides that the plants absorb.
* Humans harvest helpless, harmless plants by vivisecting them with harvesting machines.
* Humans spray plants with toxic herbicides that are absorbed into plants.
* Humans cover millions of acres with plants for human consumption, which selfishly reduces plant variety.
* Plants produce phytotoxins, molecules that poison animals careless enough to eat them.
* Look at a vegetarian. 'Nuff said?

— PacRim Jim
Chicagization    November 2013

Chicago
Chicago, D.C.
Chicago, U.S.A.

— PacRim Jim
Transhumanism    November 2013

Blinded by the prospect of (relative) immortality, humans overlook the fact that this century we shall redesign ourselves by digitizing our biology, thereby sacrificing everything that makes us imperfect humans human.

— PacRim Jim
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    November 2013

unemployed
The world's oldest profession.

— PacRim Jim
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    November 2013

research
An expensive activity conducted in the hope of making a fortuitous, enabling, enriching, and possibly scientific discovery.

— PacRim Jim
Interstellar Travel    October 2013

What type of starship would we humans use to travel to exoplanets orbiting deceptively nearby stars?
Since form follows function, the question should be, What type of humans will exist in the near future, given the Faustian biotechnological and nanotechnological powers within our grasp, which will allow us to redesign ourselves from genome to bacteriome?
The implication, then, is that those who now design starships are wasting their time, for by the time we humans leave the nest, we probably shall consist solely of carbon-free ones and zeroes.
In that case, space travel would become a two-stage enterprise.
First, we would send robots controlled by strong AI to multiple exoplanets, first to vet them, then to build all necessary infrastructure, including transceivers.
Then, before transmission from earth, the binary code of the human travelers would be modified as necessary to pre-adapt to the destination. Our "biofiles" would then be sent to the exoplanets after encoding them in an EM signal.
However, it is questionable whether we humans would need to inhabit a planet by then. We might be equally at home in interstellar, then intergalactic, space, though we would each "evolve" unique software so distinctive as to be considered a distinct species, assuming that Linnaean taxonomy would still be applicable.
It could also be that the artificial intelligence sent in advance might decide to accidentally fail to receive the signals containing inbound human travelers, so that the strong AI could inhabit the new worlds, unperturbed by the relatively capricious minds of humans.
But I digress.

— PacRim Jim
Mask Media    October 2013

News delayed is news denied.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Law of Common Sense    October 2013

The closer to D.C., the uncommoner the sense.

— PacRim Jim
Inequality of Income    October 2013

The choice is simple:
1. Inequality of income, commensurate with talent, opportunity, and luck.
2. Universal poverty.
Which do you prefer?

— PacRim Jim
Ostracism Redux    October 2013

PRJ suggests the readoption of ostracism (as defined below), mutatis mutandis, and that B. Obama be the first person ostracized from the United States.

Ostracism
A procedure under the Athenian democracy in which any citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. While some instances clearly expressed popular anger at the citizen, ostracism was often used preemptively. It was used as a way of neutralizing someone thought to be a threat to the state or potential tyrant. Crucially, ostracism had no relation to the processes of justice. There was no charge or defense, and the exile was not in fact a penalty; it was simply a command from the Athenian people that one of their number be gone for ten years. — Wikipedia

— PacRim Jim
The Sidewalks of New York    October 2013

East Side, West Side, all around the town,
Flash mobs worm the Apple as people vote, then frown.
Cops are being laid off while pols distribute pork.
Gangs chase unwary crackers from the sidewalks of New York.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's 4 Laws of Privacy    October 2013

1. Don't communicate anything you don't want the world to know.
2. Don't communicate.
3. Don't.
4.

— PacRim Jim
GOP    October 2013

It's not, however, clear to me
Though it might be to some
Whether GOP be Tweedledee
Or simply Tweedledum.

— PacRim Jim
Gold, Guns, and Grub    October 2013

Socialist governments prefer cash hoarding. The money is easier to confiscate that way.
What the government doesn't steal will be destroyed by government-engineered hyperinflation that makes Americans easily controlled peasants.
Gold, guns, and grub.
The only sure bets.

— PacRim Jim
Civil War II    October 2013

The Democrat Party divided the U.S. before launching the Civil War.
So it should come as no surprise that Civil War II looms for the same reason.

— PacRim Jim
Enterprising in the z-axis direction?    September 2013

PacRim Jim has a space business opportunity for you enterprising types.
Set up a Web site that allows people to broadcoast their short video into the endless depths of time and space.
Customers would pay a fee and then upload their video of a certain maximum length.
The site's webmaster would batch the day's uploads—a process that could could be automated—and then forward them to a partner with a radio telescope, who would broadcast them into space, toward the Andromeda Galaxy, for example.
Confirmation of the time sent and the direction in which the video was sent (along with information regarding the signal's route of travel) would then be sent to the client, who would then have the satisfaction of knowing that the people in the video would survive millions of years, and just might be viewed by a distant alien civilization some day in deep time.

— PacRim Jim
Lotsa Time    September 2013

Robots and artificial intelligence will put most humans out of work in the coming decades.
During the same decades, biotech will add decades of healthy life.
So even though we human might not have anything to do, at the very least we'll have lots of time not to do it in.

— PacRim Jim
I'll Take My Chances    July 2013

'Tis preferable to chance a terrorist attack than to sacrifice one's liberties to prevent it.

— PacRim Jim
The Wonderful Redundancy of Language    July 2013

Eye knee dice.
Dew ewe halve sum?

— PacRim Jim
My Wage (1947)    July 2013

I bargained with life for a penny,
and life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
when I counted my scanty store.

For life is a just employer,
he gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

— Jessie Belle Rittenhouse (1869–1948)
The Bill of Rights and Lefts    June 2013

First Amendment
Because the Supreme Court already makes such laws, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, as long as “not be infringed” is understood to mean “not be permitted”.

Third Amendment
Since the American military is being systematically gutted, no Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, except when your betters deem it necessary to do so.

Fifth Amendment
It is legally inadvisable to believe that no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment
Since the Federal Government already has detailed files on all Americans, it is beyond irrelevant that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Seventh Amendment
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by a sufficiently dumbed-down jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment
Since taxes are sufficiently confiscatory, excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment
If one were to assume that hoi polloi have inalienable rights, one might believe that the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment
The nonexistent powers not delegated to the United States by the interpretable Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

— PacRim Jim
America, Where Have You Gone?    June 2013

America, where have you gone?
I can no longer find you.
You've wandered, eyes closed, far away,
Leaving your best behind you.

— PacRim Jim
Chicago, D.C.    May 2013

Chicago, D.C.

— PacRim Jim
America For Me    May 2013

'TIS fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumblyh castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing foutains filled;
But, oh, to take your had, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

— Henry Van Dyke (1909)
The Red House, 1947    March 2013

Everything I love, dies.

— Pete Morgan (Edward G. Robinson)
The Red House, 1947    March 2013

Every living soul has his Oxhead Woods.

— Ellen Morgan (Judith Anderson)
Govett Field    March 2013

An international team of physicists has experimentally confirmed the cause of the passage of time, i.e., aging.
Based on their results, the team announced that the universe is pervaded by a field called the Govett Field, which is aswarm with previously undetected particles that they named chronoson particles, which confer time on all matter within the Govett Field and accumulate, thereby inducing the passage of time.
While it is theoretically possible that particles outside of the Govett Field are not exposed to chronison particles and hence do not age, confirmation will require the discovery of an area outside the field, if indeed such an area exists.

— PacRim Jim
Village Idiots    March 2013

Soon enough—too soon—strong AI-based computers will generate millions of superbly original symphonies per hour, millions of well-written, imaginative books per second, thousands of amazing movies per minute, etc.—deracinated culture beyond need, beyond comprehension.
What then will be the point of humans creating anything? What raison d'etre will be left to us?
Will our existence become merely masturbatory? A short-circuited reverie?
Dethroned, we humans shall become the village idiots, tolerated but never celebrated.

— PacRim Jim
Love Poem from Classical India    March 2013

You've squeezed your eyes shut
in false sleep
and your limbs bristle with desire
when I kiss your cheek.

O Lucky Man
make room for me in bed—
I won't waste time anymore.

— Gatha Saptasati, Tr. by Martha Ann Selby
Poem from Classical India    March 2013

Look,
  rubies and emeralds mixed
  fall from heaven
  like a necklace unstrung
  from the throat of the sky goddess:
A line of parrots.

— Gatha Saptasati, Tr. by Martha Ann Selby
Star Trek: The Corset Entrapment    February 2013

Kirk: Spock, my corset is killing me.
Spock: Captain, that is factually untrue.
Kirk: Scottie, I need more breathing room.
Scott: I'm loosening as fast as I can, Captain.
Kirk: Bones, give me a hand with these stays.
McCoy: I'm a doctor, Jim, not a damn girdle-loosener.
— END —

Watch for Star Trek 3.14159: The Pi Fight

— PacRim Jim
What Could Have Been    January 2013

Since 1973, 55,000,000 American babies, the aggregate population of 26 American states, have been aborted.
One of them might have cured the disease that will kill you someday.

— PacRim Jim
The Test    December 2012

The vision of the Founding Fathers remains but a dimming dream.
Now comes the test of how much America remains in Americans.

— PacRim Jim
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    December 2012

Spock-five
To give a high-five with the Vulcan salute.
Usage example: Gimme a Spock-five!

— PacRim Jim
Merry Christmas to All    December 2012

And to all a good night

— PacRim Jim
E Pluribus Duum    November 2012

Obama's Legacy

— PacRim Jim
The Metric Diet    December 2012

Want to halve your weight instantaneously?
Switch to a metric scale.

— PacRim Jim
Free At Last    November 2012

The 1960s liberated liberals from liberty.
The result: A political correctness more repressive than the imaginary tyrrany it replaced.

— PacRim Jim
Of the Government    November 2012

We Americans have become a people of the Government, by the Government, and for the Government.

— PacRim Jim
What to Do?    November 2012

Frustrated by the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election?
Not sure what you can do in response?
Next time you shop, recall November 6, 2012, before giving your hard-earned, after-tax money to the following major corporate supporters of Democrats:
Costco, DreamWorks, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, Virgin Group, Yahoo
It's a start, and hits 'em where it hurts: in their metrosexual purses.

— PacRim Jim
The Indispensables    November 2012

You, the supercilious, to whom school grades are the summum bonum, who measure all from the rarefied altitude of heaped-up education. Those upon whom you look down and sneer, when you deign look at all, those whom you consider your inferiors—they are not your infrastructure.
Indeed they are the indispensables, the honorable among us who keep the world running based upon arcane troves knowledge of which you little suspect.
Do you think them dormant as you absorb more shelves of word-bound arcanity? Think you that they learn nothing from this world?
If so, yours is a life of isolation, of ignorance.
That they often must live on least resources, forgoing visits to doctors and restaurants, that, tears in eyes, they often must ask their children to do without life's luxuries, even as their children's friends delight in them—those are skills unfamiliar to you, and they reflect an education perforce, yet a valuable education nonetheless.
They have adapted to a reality harsher than yours. They survive despite all.
Which of you, then, has the superior education?

— PacRim Jim
Morality    November 2012

The paramount imperative of evolution is survival, at least long enough to assure the survival of one's offspring (i.e., genes).
Moral behavior is essential, therefore, only to the extent that it is adaptive. It has never been about absolute morality in a Platonic sense.
In any case, an individual human is capable of knowing only a tiny subset of all available information. Cooperation enables groups of humans with access to larger, though by no means unambiguous, subsets of information.
In other words, not only can we humans never be certain that any one of a myriad conflicting moralities is the true morality, we humans have never needed an absolute reality, and unsurprisingly the quest for an absolute morality has proven to be maladaptive. Just recall the 20th century.

— PacRim Jim
Sandy, Wrath of God    November 2012

Someone religious might interpret Hurricane Sandy as God's wrath directed at the people of the East Coast, for their support of Obama.
Naaaaaah. Couldn't be.
Could it?

— PacRim Jim
Mieux Sauter    November 2012

The general consensus is that America is accelerating downhill toward a precipice, at night and in fog.
PacRim Jim has a different take: America is busily integrating tens of millions of immigrants from around the world.
The French have an expression for what's now happening in America: Reculer pour mieux sauter. (Look it up.)
After all, America has completed the "e pluribus" phase and is now working on the "unum" phase.
Then, Ameria will be off again, pedal to the metal, down the highway toward the future, leaving the rest of the world receding in the rearview mirror, raving and gesticulating as is their wont.

— PacRim Jim
Biblical    November 2012

In the mid 19th century, Americans chased the hapless Mormons into the unforgiving deserts of the West.
Now Americans ask a Mormon to return in triumph to the very heart of America, to cure America's sick soul.
Seems biblical, does it not?

— PacRim Jim
Achtung Deutschland!    November 2012

In Amerika, Wahrheit macht Frei
Mitt Romney
aber
Ohne Obama

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Bumper Sticker    November 2012

Decision 2012


— PacRim Jim
2012 U.S. Presidential Election Schedule    November 2012

Republicans: Vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Democrats:  Vote on Wednesday, November 7, 2012

— PacRim Jim
Obama's Problem    November 2012

Obama – Teleprompter = Obama

— PacRim Jim
R or D    November 2012

This November, vote "R" for Recovery of "D" for Depression.

— PacRim Jim
I Understand    September 2012

For the first time, PRJ understands why the U.S. Presidential election is held between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

— PacRim Jim
Islam    September 2012

"Islam" means submission, and so much less.

— PacRim Jim
Life Recorder    September 2012

For more than a decade, Microsoft has been developing a so-called life recorder that records what one says and does (and thinks?).
PRJ wonders whether this will lead to a recursive life, where people watch reruns of their recorded life, then watch reruns of them watching reruns, ad infinitum.
Add virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and avatars to the mix, and it becomes evident that century XXI will be a plot point, if not the denoument, in the accelerating story of humanity.

— PacRim Jim
Bastardy    September 2012

Those of you contemplating subjecting your children to bastardy (look it up), imagine how you would have felt if your parents had never married, had never committed fully to each other—or to you.
That's different, you say?

— PacRim Jim
Life As Script    September 2012

Outspoken actors usually are millionaires insulated from the want and misery of the unemployed.
To the actor, life is a script to be acted, that is written by another and is spoken with practiced conviction.

— PacRim Jim
Our Children's Future    September 2012

"Islam" means submission.
America means freedom.
The systems are mutually incompatible.
Which future will our children inherit?
That is being determined right now, by us.

— PacRim Jim
History Is Fascinating    September 2012

History is fascinating.
Angles and Saxons leave northern Germany for England.
English leave England for the U.S. and elsewhere.
Americans and English return to Germany as occupiers.
What next, I wonder?

— PacRim Jim
Where the Money Is    September 2012

Q: Why do politicians gravitate toward Washington, D.C.?
A: Because that's where the taxpayer money is.

— Willie Sutton, Jr.
Neologism by PRJ    September 2012

Arab Spring
Fungus blooming on bloated corpses amidst the ruins.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    September 2012

Pretendian
Someone who pretends to be an American Indian to benefit from the spurious association.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    September 2012

technicide
Self-destruction by a species whose technological power out-accelerated its intellectual power.

— PacRim Jim
Greek Reparations    September 2012

The Ottoman Turks occupied Greece for almost 400 years.
The Germans occupied Greece for 4 years.
Greece should first seek reparations from Turkey.
Then Greece should seek one percent of that amount as reparations by Germany.

Die osmanischen Türken besetzt Griechenland für fast 400 Jahre.
Die Deutschen besetzten Griechenland für 4 Jahre.
Griechenland sollte zunächst versuchen Reparationen aus der Türkei.
Dann sollte Griechenland ein Prozent dieses Betrags als Reparationen von Deutschland zu suchen.

— PacRim Jim
Ocupado    September 2012

México ha sido ocupado desde 1521.
Mexico has been occupied since 1521.

— PacRim Jim
Chicago Teachers' Strike    September 2012

Want an education?
Don't to Chicago.

— PacRim Jim
The Stakes in 2012    September 2012

The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich grew corrupt, and, in their corruption, sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another.

— Samuel Johnson, Review of Thomas Blackwell's Memoirs of the Court of Augustus in Literary Magazine, 1756.
MT Chair, Fo' Shizzle    September 2012

MT Chair

— PacRim Jim
Crowdsourced War    September 2012

Given the accelerating trends in robotics, artificial intelligence, and weaponry, can the crowdsourcing of war be far behind?
Imagine sitting in a comfy chair before two or three monitors and conquering territories around the world, in real time and real space.
Virtual reality will become an anachronism (and one of us will come to rule the world).
Lots of countries better hope it's not PRJ.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ Wonders    September 2012

Is it too early to begin the Good Riddance Obama parties?

— PacRim Jim
Democrats Have Changed    August 2012

No longer do Democrats tax and spend.
Now they spend and then tax.

— PacRim Jim
A Walking Shadow    August 2012

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

— William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Within the Gates    August 2012

Slander and libel. Character assassination.
Such passes for political discourse on the Left this electoral season, and is reminiscent of the breathless tattletales on an elementary school playground and the professional poisoners in Ancient Rome.
What is to be inferred from such behavior so destructive to America qua America? Two explanations are evident to PRJ:
* The Left believe that most American voters have been so dumbed-down by complicit teachers unions and the disinformation of the tendentious media that they will believe any lie told them. The more preposterous the lie, the more often the lie, the better.
* The Left prizes personal power (and the consequent opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of the American taxpayers) more than they do the personal freedom of all Americans, which requires sound information and the ability to rationally think a problem through to the best solution under the circumstances.
The enemy are within the gates, and are attempting to pull down the flag.

— PacRim Jim
Envoy    August 2012

Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some unsung, and that may be to-morrow.

Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchas-ed with sorrow.

Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know To-day,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know To-morrow.

— Francis Thompson, 1897
Bad Pol(l)s    July 2012

Bad polls = Bad pols

— PacRim Jim
Islamic Democracy    July 2012

"Islam" is Arabic for "submission."
"Democracy" derives from "demokratia," the Greek word meaning "government by the people."
The two words cannot be reconciled, ever, for they are antonyms.

— PacRim Jim
I Hate America    July 2012

When PRJ recently heard a fellow American haranguing others regarding his contempt for the United States, I approached him and engaged him in the following Socratic dialog:

PRJ: You what?
Guy: I hate America, its policies, its history, everything about it.
PRJ: But America is merely 3,000,000+ square miles of some of the most beautiful land on earth. What is there to hate about it?
Guy: No, I mean the people. I hate all Americans
PRJ: Everybody? Over 300,000,000 people? Me? Your parents? Yourself?
Guy: No, some of them.
PRJ: Who, specifically?
Guy: I hate those who disagree with me.
PRJ: So one must agree with you not to be hated by you?
Guy: No, that's not what I mean.
PRJ: Then whatever do you mean?
Guy: I hate you! Go away!

— PacRim Jim
Is Democracy Self-terminating?    July 2012

Do Americans actually believe that an electorate intentionally dumbed down by self-serving teachers unions would be capable of understanding the stakes and detecting the lies of any damn fool politician who flashes a practiced smile and offers a shiny, unearned coin?

— PacRim Jim
Murder at the Movies    July 2012

Another mass murder by yet another first-person shooter.
Moments of horror. Lifetimes of terror.
Consider, however:
Anyone who expects to live in a society of 311,000,000+ Americans without the occasional insane act has seen too many happy endings.
Given that 1% of humans are schizophrenic (i.e., over 3,000,000 Americans), and about one-third of them are paranoid (i.e., over 1,000,000 Americans), it's amazing that we are not visited by such evil more frequently.
For, as PRJ is wont to say, life's a bitch, and then you die.

— PacRim Jim
Rejuvenation    July 2012

Given the strictures of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and chaos theory, there is only one way for the human body to go right, but thousands of ways for it to go wrong.
A sorry state of affairs, to be sure, but it's the only state of affairs we have.
It seems, therefore, that it will take an army of specialists to systematically rejuvenate a human being.
The initial temptation will be to offer rejuvenation to those who can afford it, until the price can be reduced by economies of scale.
That would be a mistake, however, given that staying alive is of no small concern to everyone and his pet boa.
Mr. Moneybags sporting his brand-spanking-new body would trigger a firestorm of outrage among hoi polloi, which would translate into restrictive legislation, if not skin-damaging mass violence.
Even though it's still early innings, people with nothing better to do should now be thinking about the implementation of therapeutic rejuvenation.
Me, I'm gonna take a nap.

— PacRim Jim
Together?    July 2012

Together?
It's difficult to imagine the American people again uniting for any purpose.
We are a people riven by hard-left ideologues and racial demagogues more solicitous of their own welfare than that of the America of the Constitution.
Even assuming it was thus during the Great Depression, a uniting world war might be too high a price to pay for unity.
The more likely outcome, it seems, would be the formation of two countries reflecting the relative powers of the citizen and the state:
Democratia, where the state controls the people.
Republica, where the people control the state.

— PacRim Jim
Atchway Atwhay Ouyay Aysay Onlineway    July 2012

In theory, everything we do online could be stored indefinitely and viewed by anyone with access, however many gigaquads of data would result.
Surely, over the years, each of us, in a moment of exhaustion, whimsy, or boredom, will say something online worthy of censure, if not downright criminal under the thousands of arcane, ever-restricting laws and regulations.
The good news is that we needn't be jailed, because America will by then have become a continental jail from which there will be no parole.
America, the Land of the Free, where one can say anything one is allowed to say.
It's in the First Amendment to the Constitution. See for yourself.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    July 2012

Democruptcy
The bankrupting of the U.S. Federal Government or a state, county or local government, as the result of the corrupt political practices of Democrat officeholders, in cooperation with corrupt public-sector union leaders.

— PacRim Jim
Scientists    July 2012

Journalists have recently opined that graduates of American universities in the sundry sciences can no longer find jobs in America.
They are mistaken.
There are always jobs for scientists of genius, who are worth thousands of run-of-the-academy scientists.
The reason: Brilliant scientists create new industries, while competent scientists merely staff them.

— PacRim Jim
Happy 236th Birthday, America    July 2012

In some respects, the United States is the oldest country in the world.
In one respect, however, it seems startlingly young: The U.S.A. is as old as three human lifespans, end to end.
Given the triumph and tumult of American history, our country is but a toddler on the world stage.
But America is learning, and it's here to stay.

— PacRim Jim
The Obvious American Dream    July 2012

PRJ knows several Asian immigrants who operate successful ethnic restaurants.
Without exception, they toil and scrimp to send their children to good universities, where their children study biochemistry, computer science, medicine, etc.—but never the so-called liberal arts. Never.
These exemplars of the American Dream know what Americans used to know: the values of hard work and a sound education with a future.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to remind one of what is obvious.

— PacRim Jim
Schmerz Hurts    July 2012

Perhaps sooner and more obstinately than others, a liberal is troubled by Weltschmerz, the discrepancy between what an ideal world should be and what actually exists.
That imperfection exists is intolerable to a liberal, who is certain that someone, somewhere knows how to impose perfection over the protests of the resolutely benighted.

— PacRim Jim
World Cop Quiz    July 2012

Does the world need a de facto policeman?
If you think so, which country or organization do you think would best protect human rights?
If not, read a book, Candide.

— PacRim Jim
The Stakes    June 2012

During the American Revolution, most American colonists were Tories, i.e., supporters of the British.
Eventually, United States schools and media succeeded in educating the populace until there existed a reservoir of Americans proud and determined to remain free.
Later and for reasons not yet fully explicated, Leftist-dominated institutions of influence such as the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the universities began to reverse this process, with the certainty that an ignorant electorate is more easily controlled by glib politicians who flash a practiced smile and proffer a shiny coin.
Whether the United States and its glorious Constitution will be able to long endure this betrayal remains to be seen.
But it is no exaggeration to state that the entire world has a stake in the outcome of this pivotal struggle.

— PacRim Jim
Socialist Mathematics    June 2012

2 x 0 > 1 x 0

— PacRim Jim
Islamophobia, Western-Style    June 2012

Muslims have occupied most of the Levant, the Christian Holy Land, for about 15 centuries.
Muslims occupied Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, for a couple of centuries
Muslims now are in the process of occupying Europe, the heart of the extra-Anglospheric West.

Any yet the Muslims speak of Islamophobia.
Perhaps it's time for the West to occupy Mecca and Medina.

— PacRim Jim
More Luck Than Foresight    June 2012

Amazing.
In our hour of need, we Americans now turn to the Mormons, the repository of traditional American values that we exiled to the Utah desert in the 19th century, perhaps the better to preserve them.
Amazing.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ’s favorite poetry e-books for the Kindle    May 2012

FROM AN EMPTY NEST

LIFE & DEATH

Light no longer shines
From under my child’s door.
Outside my house, outside my life,
Lie new worlds to explore.

A gift was mine, it kept me young
But only moments for.
Now light no longer shines
From under my child’s door.

Life is a smiling child,
Who takes you by the hand,
Then leads you off the precipice.

Death is a whimpering dog,
That shivers alone in darkest night,
Then tears out passing throats.
— David Lowen Govett, Predicament: Life — David Lowen Govett, Predicament: Death
Entanglement, Double-Slit Style    May 2012

Suppose that two widely separated Young's double-slit experiments were performed with pairs of photons that were trapped, quantumly entangled, separated to the two experiments, and simultaneously shot throught the two slit pairs.
Would wave-particle duality be apparent on both targets, as expected?
Would observation of one experiment collapse the wave function, resulting in discrete dots hitting the target, and causing only a wave interference pattern to form on the other, unobserved target?
PRJ's mind now decoheres.

— PacRim Jim
Where did it go?    May 2012

Does anyone understand where the $5,000,000,000,000 (five trillion dollars) spent by Congress went?
One of these years, I will have to explain to my grandchildren why their dreams are circumscribed by America's ocean of debt.
I would have noticed and understood where the money went, if the five trillion dollars had been used to create 5,000,000 millionaires.
But Bush’s and Obama’s trillions sank like a rock in a distant pond, with nary a detectable ripple.
So I ask again—rhetorically, perhaps—Where did America's future go?

— PacRim Jim
The Difference    May 2012

Fundamental difference between Europe and the United States:
Top-down Europeans have prized various -isms (e.g., feudalism, colonialism, communism, fascism, nazism, socialism, nihilism, multiculturalism), which European governments have successively imposed to control the European peoples.
Bottom-up Americans, on the other hand, prize individual freedom, which they use to minimize governmental control.

— PacRim Jim
Invasive?    May 2012

A plant from one ecosystem shows up unbidden in a different ecosystem, and it's called invasive, i.e., detrimental to the natural ecosystem.
A man from one culture shows up unbidden in a different culture, and he's called diverse, i.e., beneficial to the cultural ecosystem.

— PacRim Jim
Evolution    May 2012

The self-styled evolved, who consider themselves superior to hoi polloi, misunderstand the concept of evolution.
As formulated in Darwin's 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, evolution is not an ineluctible ascent toward perfection.
Rather, it is simply a ratcheted adaptation to the present environment, which, while conducive to longevity, is not necessarily desirable from the moral and intellectual standpoints.

— PacRim Jim
American Advantages    May 2012

Two American inventions that make America great:
* The U.S. Bill of Rights, which recognizes—not grants—the right we Americans all have to freedom of speech.
* The Internet, which was developed by Americans with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Put the two together and you have a global platform for us common Joes and Janes to speak our minds.
You might not like what we say, but you have to appreciate the fact that we can say it.

Besides, PRJ is alive and is an American.
What else could one want?

— PacRim Jim
Extract from Michael: A Pastoral Poem     May 2012

There is a comfort in the strength of love;
'T'will make a thing endurable, which else
Would break the heart

— William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Collected Speeches of Barack Hussein Obama     May 2012

I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me I me...

— PacRim Jim
Europe at the Brink (Yet Again)    May 2012

Having been subjected to 50+ years of reflexive anti-American rhetoric from soi-disant evolved European socialists, PRJ is quite enjoying Europe’s intensifying predicament, as they paint themselves farther into the proverbial corner (from which they, no doubt, expect the American taxpayers to rescue them).
Well think again, Eurotrash.
Most Americans no longer feel any tie to Europe qua Motherland, so spend yourself unto starvation and civil war. There will be no American Care packages this time.
As the great American philosopher Nelson Mundt explains, “HA-hah!”

— PacRim Jim
Asia 2050, China 1    September 2002 (repost)

Ready for yet another scary prognostication?
China will dominate Asia by 2050.
"How could that happen?," you ask.
Well, curiously obliging reader, PacRim Jim will tell you.
If the current Russian demographic trend continues, by the year 2050 Russia will be home to only 60 million people, less than half its current population. Not to be out-enervated, Japan's population also will dwindle to 60 million, not counting the bazillion androbots.
By contrast, China's population—hence its relative military and technological strengths—will swell, reaching approximately 1.5 billion Chinese in 2050, more than 10 times the combined populations of the Russian remnant and the senescent Japanese.
Emboldened by such trends, tens of millions of lebensraumisch Chinese will drift northward into Siberia, quickly outnumbering the hapless Russian population and quite settling the question of Siberian sovereignty. By 2050, therefore, with the addition of Chinese Siberia (Sinoberia?)—formerly most of Russia—China's area (and natural resources) will more than double.
What will that mean to whatever remains of the West?
A cursory examination of the Asian map below should suggest a couple of questions:
* Will Russia merge with the United States to forestall China's expansion to the Ural Mountains?
* Will proud Japan become a vassal state of China?
Stay tuned. For although PacRim Jim is not at liberty to disclose the contents of future's fortune cookie, his uncounted children no longer study Japanese. They study Chinese—and Mandarin Chinese at that.

China in 2050?

— PacRim Jim
Apropos of Summer    May 2012

THE TABLES TURNED

UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

— William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Amazing!    May 2012

We Americans amaze ourselves.
We American taxpayers—we average Joes and Janes—funded development of the Internet, which is even now disintermediating those who would control us, which is doing more to catalyze human freedom than anything since the birth of the U.S. Constitution.
Would-be aristocrats here and abroad soon will have nowhere to flee to, no peasants to rule.

— PacRim Jim
Fortunate    May 2012

An island of 7,600,000 Israelis surrounded by a sea of 1,600,000,000 Muslims intent upon Israel's destruction.
It is fortunate, is it not, that Israeli Jews are not confined to a ghetto.

— PacRim Jim
Eurocide by -ism    May 2012

Yet again, Europe is moribund. Yet again, Americans will be asked to stay the imported knife that Europeans hold at their collective throat.
What could account for the singular self-contempt displayed by Europeans over the past century?
The obvious inciting incident seems to be the European intellectual's attraction to sundry -isms that promise utopia, but succeed only in filling anonyous graves.
Catholicism, feudalism, protestantism, puritanism, colonialism, communism, fascism, nazism, socialism, nihilism, and now multiculturalism. Each adopted -ism promises to improve upon the last, however counterintuitive that might appear to the benighted unevolved, who cling irrationally to common sense and un-deconstruced history.
So, at long last, it has come to this: Europe qua Europe will be no more.
It is here that "Sic transit gloria mundi" would normally appear, but for faut de mieux, future history will be written in another, more-successful language.

— PacRim Jim
Precedent Without    May 2012

Barack Obama is precedent without president.

— PacRim Jim
Dyson Sphere    April 2012

Did you hear the one about the country that built a Dyson sphere around the earth?

— PacRim Jim
Wisdom of Calvin Coolidge    April 2012

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
— Calvin Coolidge
Neologism by PRJ    April 2012

ate the dog
A special case of "jumped the shark," the expression refers to the moment when the popularity of a U.S. President takes a steep nosedive as the result of an unconventional dietary preference.
Example: Obama ate the dog.

— PacRim Jim
April Fool    April 2012

Americans elected a racist, foreign-born, Marxist Muslim as their President.
April Fool!

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    March 2012

thugz
People too lazy to get a job, but not too lazy to pull a trigger

— PacRim Jim
October Surprise?    March 2012

U.S. Navy ships are now converging on the Persian Gulf.
Is it conceivable that a certain unpopular U.S. President would trade the lives of thousands of American kids, merely to be re-elected in 2012?
Does he truly believe that his sordid ends justify any means?

— PacRim Jim
What if...?    March 2012

What if, capitalizing on his international fame, Germanophile Charles Lindbergh had been elected President in 1932, instead of FDR?
Would the U.S. have entered World War II?
If so, on which side?
How would the world be different now?

— PacRim Jim
100 Years Ago    March 2012

Think back one hundred years ago.
Life was brutish and short.
Societies were ruled by politicians who enriched themselves at the expense of the people they represented, while diverting people's attention from their own malevolence with welfare, gossip, sports, and sundry hollow diversions.
Those elected to protect the people incrementally stripped them of their rights, while the complicit media remained silent, intent on telling people what to think, rather than providing information that allowed people to make informed decisions.
Countries warred with their neighbors for reasons now forgotten, in the process killing millions of hapless youths sent to fight ferocious wars started by tired old men who supped safely, far from the zinging bullets.
Teachers baby-sat their students, while filling their heads with ideologies and carefully avoiding discussion of any subject requiring critical thinking.
Diseases spread among among people unable to afford medical care, who fattened on artery-clogging food and avoided exercise.
Most people worked at jobs they hated, in crime-infested and polluted cities, where civility was mocked and the arts defiled.
The elderly were warehoused, forgotten by their families and abused by those charged with their care.
Yes, life was indeed barbaric.
Count yourself fortunate to live in these civilized times—and pity your ancestors.

— David Govett, March 19, 2112
British Imponderables    March 2012

* Why do the British abbreviate "mathematics" as "maths," yet abbreviate "economics" as "econ"?
* Why do the British pronounce "schedule" as "shedule," yet pronounce "scheme" as "skeme"?

— PacRim Jim
Who Will Be America's Putin?    February 2012

Who will be America’s Putin?
The question must be asked, since the confluence of events will soon birth such a malevolent figure.
Consider:
In the 1920s a humiliated Austrian named Hitler dedicated his life to overturning the shame of German surrender in World War I, bringing everlasting shame on the German people.
Similarly, in the 1990s a humiliated Russian named Putin dedicated his life to overturning the de facto surrender of the Soviet Union, probably to the detriment of the Russian people.
Unfortunately, should current trends hold, in the 2020s a humiliated American yet to be named will dedicate his life to overturning the bankruptcy and de facto dissolution of the United States, quite probably to the everlasting shame and detriment of the American people.
The logic seems inescapable, though the Pacster hopes otherwise.

— PacRim Jim
Enka-D Tour Ends    February 2012

The Pacster is first to report that Enka-D, Japan's enormously popular and only rap-enka singer, has just completed his fifth nationwide tour, which comprised six four-hour concerts: 2 in Tokyo, 2 in Osaka, and 1 each in Sapporo and Kagoshima.

Enka-D closed each concert with his signature rap Jibun De, a particular favorite of audiences numbering about 5,000 fans.

According to his publicist, tickets for the upcoming June tour have already sold out.

— PacRim Jim
Mortality (Abridged)    February 2012

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid;
And the young and the old, the low and the high,
Shall molder to dust, and together shall lie.

So the multitude goes—like the flower or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes—even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.

For we are the same that our fathers have been;
We see the same sights that our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, we feel the same sun,
And run the same course that our fathers have run.

The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would shrink;
To the life we are clinging, they also would cling—
But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.

They loved—but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned—but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved—but no wail from their slumber will come;
They joyed—but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

They died—aye, they died—we things that are now,
That walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
And make in their dwellings a transient abode,
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.

Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

’Tis the wink of an eye—’tis the draught of a breath—
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

— William Knox, 1824
Thorstein Veblen    February 2012

[Veblen's] Words were flung upon words until all recolletion that there must be a meaning in them, a ground and excuse for them, were lost. One wandered in a labyrinth of nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and participles, most of them swollen and nearly all of them unable to walk. It was, and is, impossible to imagine worse English, within the limits of intelligible grammar. It was clumsy, affected, opaque, bombastic, windy, empty. It was without grace or distinction and it was often without the most elementary order. The professor got himself enmeshed in his gnarled sentences like a bull trapped by barbed wire, and his efforts to extricate himself were quite as furious and quite as spectacular. He heaved, he leaped, he writhed; at times he seemed to be at the point of yelling for the police. It was a picture to bemuse the vulgar and give the judicious grief.

— H. L. Mencken's 1919 review of The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), by Thorstein Veblen
Thought-Logger    January 2012

How long until the Government implants a thought-logger into each of our brains?

— PacRim Jim
PacRim Jim's Favorite Poetry (E-books at Amazon.com)    January 2012

Predicament: Life
Predicament: Death

— PacRim Jim
From PRJ's Dictionary    January 2012

The American University
Where one is free to think anything one must.

— PacRim Jim
Note on a Cuff    January 2012

The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful.

— H. L. Mencken, 1929
On Suicide    January 2012

...men work simply in order to escape the depressing agony of contemplating life...their work, like their play, is a mumbo-jumbo that serves them by permitting them to escape from reality. Both work and play, ordinarily, are illusions. Neither serves any solid and permanent purpose. But life, stripped of such illusions, instantly becomes unbearable. Man cannot sit still, contemplating his destiny in this world, without going frantic. So he invents ways to take his mind off the horror. He works. He plays. He accumulates the preposterous nothing called property. He strives for the coy eye-wink called fame. He founds a family, and spreads his curse over others. All the while the thing that moves him is simply the yearning to lose himself, to forget himself, to escape the tragicomedy that is himself. Life, fundamentally, is not worth living. So he confects artificialities to make it so. So he erects a gaudy structure to conceal the fact that is not so.

— H. L. Mencken, 1926
Under the Elms    January 2012

What I'd like to see, if it could be arranged, would be a wave of suicides among college presidents. I'd be delighted to supply the pistols, knives, ropes, poisons and other necessary tools. Going further, I'd be delighted to load the pistols, hone the knives, and tie the hangman's knots. A college student, leaping uninvited into the arms of God, pleases only himself. But a college president, doing the same thing, would give keen and permanent joy to great multitudes of persons.

— H. L. Mencken, 1927
World of Liberty    January 2012

The nascent freedom movements now disrupting dictatorships around the globe are enabled and catalyzed by American inventions: the cell phone, the personal computer, the communication satellite, the Global Positioning System, the Internet, Facebook and other social networking sites, Google and other search engines, as well as a myriad of other software and hardware products.
Free Americans spreading freedom around the world—America's raison d'etre and America's lasting legacy.

— PacRim Jim
A Loss of Romance    December 2011

In the relations between the sexes all beauty is founded upon romance, all romance is founded upon mystery, and all mystery is founded upon ignorance, or, failing that, upon the deliberate denial of the known truth.

If women, continuing their present tendency to its logical goal, end by going stark naked, there will be no more poets and painters, but only dermatologists.

— H. L. Mencken, The Blushful Mystery, Prejudices, 1919.
Ex Nihilo?    December 2011

If the Big Bang created the space-time of our universe, how could anything have happened before the Big Bang, since there was neither space nor time within which it could have happened?
Modern physics posits exactly this ex nihilo state transition.

— PacRim Jim
Homo sapiens    December 2011

...man is a local disease of the cosmos — a kind of pestiferous eczema or urethritis. There are, of course, different grades of eczema, and so are there different grades of men. No doubt a cosmos afflicted with nothing worse than an infection of Beethovens would not think it worthwhile to send for the doctor. But a cosmos infested by Socialists, Scotsmen and stockbrokers must suffer damnably. No wonder the sun is so hot and the moon is so diabetically green.

— H. L. Mencken, Prejudices, 1922.
PacRim Jim's Favorite Symphonies, by Number    December 2011

Symphony No. 1

Brahms

Symphony No. 2

Borodin

Symphony No. 3

Rachmaninoff

Symphony No. 4

Mahler

Symphony No. 5

Sibelius

Symphony No. 6

Tchaikovsky

Symphony No. 7

Dvorak

Symphony No. 8

Schubert

Symphony No. 9

Dvorak

Symphony No. 41

Mozart


— PacRim Jim
Al & Suz    December 2011

Al Bino the Wino
Drinks only white wine,
And eats only warm mayonnaise.

His wife, Suntan Suz,
Prefers water to booze,
So dines alone all of her days.

— PacRim Jim
Man Manqué    December 2011

Bring me men to match my mountains.
— Sam Walter Foss, American poet, 1894

Bring me men to match my faculty lounges.
— Barack Hussein Obama, 2010

— PacRim Jim
The Stakes    December 2011

The burning humiliation of losing World War I motivated Adolph Hitler to assume absolute power in Germany and, ultimately, in his attempt to exorcise the humiliation, to start World War II, which killed over 60,000,000 humans.
The burning humiliation of losing World War III (aka the Cold War) now motivates Vladimir Putin to seek absolute power in Russia, which he now is doing. It is uncertain whether or not, in his attempt to exorcise Russia's humiliation, Putin will cause World War IV, either intentionally or accidentally. However, the parallel is as deeply troubling as it is insistent.
The civilizations that now exist, but would vanish is such a war, might want to consider the stakes.

— PacRim Jim
Time to End of Obama Interregnum


— PacRim Jim
Our Legacy to Our Grandchildren    November 2011


— PacRim Jim
Economic Irony    November 2011

C(linton) + B(ush) + O(bama) = CBO (Congressional Budget Office)

— PacRim Jim
Not a Paper Tiger    November 2011

Under Obama, the U.S. has behaved not as a paper tiger, but as a paper kitten that plays with matches.

— PacRim Jim
Corporate Tax, Not    November 2011

Corporations do not pay taxes.
The money that corporations send to Washington is added to the prices of the goods and services that they sell, so it ends up being yet another tax imposed on their purchasers, the American taxpayers.
This is so obvious that even a journalist should be able to understand it.

— PacRim Jim
What We Fight For    November 2011

...there are thoughtless dilettanti or purblind worldlings who sometimes ask us: "What is it that [we] are fighting for?" To this I answer: "If we left off fighting you would soon find out."

— Winston Churchill, radio broadcast (1940)
EZ, Not EZ    November 2011

Outta my way!

— PacRim Jim
Forgotten Wisdom    October 2011

...toleration is odious to the intolerant, freedom to oppressors, property to robbers, and all kinds and degrees of prosperity to the envious.

— Edmund Burke (1729-1797), speech in 1780
Roué Euro    October 2011

Could it be more than coincidental that euro is a permutation of roué?

— PacRim Jim
Capsule Review of Corpus of Stephen King    October 2011

Stephen King writes the same story,
because it's the only story.

— PacRim Jim
Resource    October 2011

You should write a novel. The regular resource of people who don’t go enough into the world to live a novel is to write one.

— Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), A Pair of Blue Eyes
Aesthetic Syllogism    October 2011

Beauty is subjective.
Subjective is ugliness.
Therefore, beauty is ugliness.

— PacRim Jim
The Purity of Folly    October 2011

What would the Latin-speaking Romans think of the purity of the French language?

— PacRim Jim
How to Differentiate between a Conservative and a Liberal    October 2011

Conservatives kick butts and take names.
Liberals kick names and take butts.

— PacRim Jim
Keys to Minimizing Stress during the Obama Depression    October 2011

* Save more money (i.e., spend less).
* Eat a vegetarian diet whenever possible.
* Take a brisk walk every day, for at least one-half hour.
* Sleep at least seven hours per night.
* Be grateful for what you have; it could be less.
* Mark your calendar to vote in the Presidential election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

— PacRim Jim
Infernity    October 2011

Thinking of assuming a 30-year mortgage on a house?
Don't.
In the age of Obama, 30 years is an infernity.

— PacRim Jim
Transhumanism, the Heat Death of Humanity    September 2011

Mortality is the condition of being able to die, regarded by many as a curse, but more properly appreciated as a gift, the gift of design and choice, of gain and loss, of hope and desperation, of failure and redemption, all modes of being that are available only to creatures who...have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is the inevitability and shadow of death that provides life with a narrative arc, and provides moments in that narrative with a meaning; for the meaning of a moment—its distinctiveness—is a function of the place prepared for it by a past and the place waiting for it in a future that has...a terminal point. We say to ourselves, "Yes, this is where it was all leading" or "This is the beginning of something that will, I hope, flower." Without the specter and period of death, there would be no urgency of accomplishment, no expectations to be realized or disappointed, no anxieties to be allayed. Each moment would bear an equal weight or equal weightlessness.... Significance would not be in the process of emerging, sometimes clear, sometimes not; rather, it would be evenly distributed and therefore not be significance—a concept that requires that some moments stand out—at all. In short there would be no sentences, no temporal ordering of events in an attempt to make sense of them and of life. The meaning of things would be immediately and transparently present and it would be everywhere and always the same. This is the condition of eternity, a state of being we mortals can know only be negative inference, by imagining, in time, the negation of time.

— Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence, and How to Read One
Jillion Mobs    September 2011

Obama's plan will not create a million jobs.
It's more likely to create a jillion mobs.

— PacRim Jim
Summing Up 9/11    September 2011

Apropos 9/11:
9 + 1 + 1 = 11 (i.e., the two towers)

— PacRim Jim
Alienable Rights?    September 2011

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, which was adopted on July 4, 1776, states that,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This raises a troubling question:
Since American atheists do not believe in a Creator, do they not ipso facto deny Americans the enumerated unalienable rights?

— PacRim Jim
Where's My Nobel?    September 2011

All motion is relative.
Relative motion is perpetual.
Hence, all motion is perpetual.

— PacRim Jim
Civil War II    August 2011

During Civil War I, the North saved the South.
During the ongoing Civil War II, the South is saving the North.

— PacRim Jim
Two Futures    August 2011

In 2012, America must choose between two futures:
Taxes or Texas.

— PacRim Jim
Wish I'd said that — Oh yeah, I did    August 2011

Obama is a better precedent than President.

— PacRim Jim
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    August 2011

hip-hop
Music that aims low, and undershoots its target.

— PacRim Jim
Stasis Redux    August 2011

The Left never learns that persuasion is not by means of ad hominem attack.
The Right never learns that the Left never learns.

— PacRim Jim
Reboot America    August 2011

The Federal Government, America's computer, now runs sluggishly, having been slowed by the innumerable ideological viruses it has accumulated over the years, from within and without.

PacRim Jim suggests an algorithm to rejuvenate this great nation:

1. Convene America's States.
2. Shut down the U.S. Federal Government.
3. Wipe clean America's hard disk, including President 1.0, Congress 1.0, Judiciary 1.0, and every department and agency.
4. Reinstall its operating system, the Constitution, with President 2.0, Congress 2.0, and Judiciary 2.0.
5. Reinstall only critical applications such as the Dept. of Defense, but not disk-cloggers such as the Dept. of Education.
6. Reboot the Federal Government to reboot the American Dream.
7. Recurrence of performance problems?
8. If no, go to 7.
9. If yes, go to 1.

— PacRim Jim
Kenyon Redux    July 2011

Whoever will examine the state of the grammar schools in different parts of the kingdom will see to what a lamentable condition most of them are reduced. If all persons had equally done their duty, we should not find, as is now the case, empty walls without scholars, and everything neglected but the receipt of salaries and emoluments.

— Lord Kenyon (1795), quoted in English Society in the Eighteenth Century by Roy Porter
To the basement, Alice.    July 2011

Democrat politicians claim to represent America's poor.
It follows then that the only way to assure their (re-)election is to increase the number of poor.
This explains much, for much needs explaining.

— PacRim Jim
A Swing of the Pendulum    July 2011

If Obama is America's Gorbachev, who will be America's Putin?

— PacRim Jim
Whazza Dog?    June 2011

dog
a tongue and tail separator

— PacRim Jim
¿Ser o Estar?    June 2011

En América Latina, una persona es pobre o rica.
En los Estados Unidos, una persona está pobre o rica.

— PacRim Jim
Shopping News You Can Use    May 2011

Can't decide whether or not something is American-made?
Check the first digits of the bar code:

690-692

made in China

00-09

made in USA (or Canada)

30-37

made in France

40-44

made in Germany

471

made in Taiwan

49

made in Japan

50

made in UK


— PacRim Jim
Top 12 Web Sites (Unit: Google Hits)    April 2011

Facebook

 

8,200,000,000

Twitter

 

6,800,000,000

Google

 

5,700,000,000

Amazon

 

5,400,000,000

Yahoo!

 

3,700,000,000

YouTube

 

2,300,000,000

Blogger

 

1,700,000,000

MSN

 

1,200,000,000

eBay

 

1,100,000,000

LinkedIn

 

552,000,000

Wikipedia

 

475,000,000

Craigslist

 

85,000,000


— PacRim Jim
Remind you of anyone?    April 2011

...judging from this alone, one might have suspected him of having had in his youth some feeble glimmerings of common sense...

— John Lloyd Stephens (1805–1852), Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land (1837)
It's So Hard to Get Good Help    April 2011

Late in the evening we passed a hill of stones,...it was the tomb of...a woman who was surprised by her kindred with a paramour, and killed and buried on the spot; on a little eminence above, a few stones marked the place where a slave had been stationed to give the guilty pair a timely notice of approaching danger, but had neglected his important trust.

— John Lloyd Stephens (1805–1852), Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land (1837)
Are Chinese Imports Cheap?    March 2011

Will cheap, imported Chinese goods prove to be a good deal for U.S. consumers?

To make that determination, some long-term consequences must be considered:
* Thousands of U.S. factories have closed and millions of middle-class manufacturing jobs have been lost, permanently.
* As a result, taxes to the U.S. Government dropped and government services expanded, necessitating borrowing from the Chinese Government.
* With the trillions of dollars of profits from the U.S., the Chinese Government is rapidly expanding its military, necessitating higher defense budgets in the U.S.
* As a result of the trillions borrowed from the Chinese Government, our American children and their children will be repaying the loans, with interest (albeit with depreciated dollars).
* These children and grandchildren will probably have to fight the Chinese in at least low-level skirmishes of Cold War II.
* The profits will enable China to invest in R&D and move up the technological ladder, displacing American companies that sought refuge in high technology.
* Checkmate?

Considering the closed factories, lost jobs, devastated families, foreclosed homes, servicing of foreign debt, deteriorating correlating of military forces vis-a-vis China, reduced standard of living of our descendants, increased vulnerability of loan-hungry American politicians to pressure from the Chinese Government, lost manufacturing capability and capacity, reduced domestic demand for American engineers, etc., will American consumers benefit long term?

Indeed, what will be the ultimate price of Chinese imports?

— PacRim Jim
Myrmecological Aethology    February 2011

Humble and innocuous in raiding parties of one, irresistible en bloc, ants now populate my kitchen counter despite my digital dissuasion.
Why?, the Pacster wondered, Why do they persist? A few moments application of the prescientific method yielded the answer—well, at least an answer.
Ants invade my house only under five circumstances:
* While the outside is too cold.
* While the outside is too hot.
* While the outside is too dry.
* While the outside is too wet.
* While the outside is not inside.

— PacRim Jim
Bad Inventions: Re-Recumbent Bicycle    February 2011

Outta my way!

— PacRim Jim
Best Revenge    January 2011

The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.

— Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD), Meditations, translated by Martin Hammond
Baggage Begone!    January 2011

A change of character, not a change of air, is what you need....
Here is what Socrates said to someone who was making the same complaint: "How can you wonder your travels do you no good, when you carry yourself around with you? You are saddled with the very thing that drove you away."

— Seneca the Younger (c. 5 BC–AD 65), Letters from a Stoic, translated by Robin Campbell
Arabia Anglica    December 2010

...Wm. Shakespeare...Isaac Newton...Samuel Johnson...Charles Darwin...Winston Churchill...Labour Party...Muhammad...Muhammad...Muhammad...
Sad.
Verily, it is sad.

— PacRim Jim
“Le déluge, c'est moi”    December 2010

Little-Known Kings of France (from Wikipedia):

Chlodio the Longhair
Chlothar I the Old
Pepin the Short
Louis I the Debonaire
Charles II the Bald
Louis II the Stammerer
Charles the Fat
Charles III the Simple
Louis IV from Overseas
Louis V the Lazy
Louis X the Quarreller
John I the Posthumous
Charles VI the Mad
Charles VII the Well-Served
Louis XI the Universal Spider
Francis I the Restorer of Letters
Henry IV the Green Gallant

— PacRim Jim
MST3K vs. SCTV    December 2010

Which of the following TV shows provided more belly-laughs?

MST3K
Cambot, Crow T. Robot, Deep 13, Dr. Clayton Forrester, Dr. Laurence "Larry" Erhardt, Gizmonic Institute, Gypsy, Joel Hodgson, Magic Voice, Mike Nelson, Mole People, Observer ("Brain Guy"), Ortega, Pearl Forrester, Professor Bobo, Tom Servo, Torgo, TV's Frank

SCTV
5 Neat Guys, Big Jim McBob, Bill Needle, Billy Sol Hurok, Bob & Doug McKenzie, Bobby Bittman, Count Floyd, Dr. Tongue, Earl Camambert, Ed Grimley, Edith Prickley, Floyd Robertson, Gerry Todd, Guy Caballero, Harvey K-Tel, Jackie Rogers, Jr., Johnny LaRue, Juul Haalmeyer Dancers, Lola Heatherton, Mayor Tommy Shanks, Mrs. Falbo, Perini Scleroso, Rockin’ Mel, Sammy Maudlin, Shmenge Brothers, Sid Dithers, Skip Bittman, William B. Williams

— PacRim Jim
Reluctant Superpower    December 2010

Dragged reluctantly onto the world stage by Tojo and Stalin, by Churchill and Hitler, the United States became the reluctant superpower because others were foolish enough to sacrifice their own economies to ideology and war.
Faute de mieux, America will—must—remain the sole superpower, for the alternatives would be appalling, though least of all to America.

— PacRim Jim
Imagining $1 Trillion    December 2010

The U.S. Congress speaks of $1 trillion as if such a quantity had meaning to taxpayers.
In an attempt to visualize the magnitude of $1 trillion in dollar bills, the Pacster decided to determine their cumulative area.
Since each $1 bill is 6.6294 cm (2.61") wide by 15.5956 cm (6.14") long, were the Pacster to lay them side by side, he would probably be trampled by incurious yet ever-impecunious thieves.
Were he to somehow elude detection, the 1 trillion dollar bills would cover the entire state of California to the approximate depth of 4 bills.
In other words, this yet-inconceivable sum would blanket California about four times.
Congress may be profligate, but at least it's ambitiously profligate.

— PacRim Jim
Anyone Familiar?    December 2010

...do you call those men leisured who spend many hours at the barber's simply to cut whatever grew overnight, to have a serious debate about every separate hair, to tidy up disarranged locks or to train thinning ones from the sides to lie over the forehead? How angry they get if the barber has been a bit careless—as if he were trimming a real man! How they flare up if any of their mane is wrongly cut off, if any of it is badly arranged, or if it doesn't all fall into the right ringlets! Which of them would not rather have his country ruffled than his hair? Which would not be more anxious about the elegance of his head than its safety? Which would not rather be trim than honorable? Do you call those men leisured who divide their time between the comb and the mirror?

— Seneca the Younger (c. 5 BC–AD 65), On the Shortness of Life, translated by C.D.N. Costa
Baby Boomer Alert No. 2010-772    November 2010

The accelerating pace of science and technology will soon considerably extend the life span of all humans—all except us Baby Boomers.
All will not be lost, however. To the Baby Boomer generation will belong the distinction of being the last human generation to die of natural causes.

The Pacster can only conclude that irony is funny only when it applies to others.

— PacRim Jim
How to Give Thanks    November 2010

When you become an adult and have children of your own, you learn how much more satisfying it is to give than to receive. Besides, most of us adults have already received our fair share, and another gift would be incrementally meaningless.
Consider, therefore, the unrelenting suffering now abroad in America. Your neighbors are hanging their heads and crying, cursing their helplessness behind closed doors. Humiliated, they suffer in silence. More than anything, they want to be able to provide of themselves, but lack resources and are too proud to ask for much-needed help. This makes it all the harder to help them.
This is where you come in.
If you know of anyone who might be nearing the precipice, help them any way you can, even if only by encouraging and complimenting them.
Let them know that you know they exist and actually, honestly care.
After all, your time on this earth is limited. Make it count.

— PacRim Jim
The Risk of Liberty    November 2010

After Muslim terrorists killed Americans, the U.S. Government—whose principal responsibility is protection of the liberty of the American people—reacted by establishing yet another government agency, the TSA, which sees fit to subject Americans to arbitrary, intrusive, humiliating bodily probing. Thus is yet another liberty lost.

How, then, will the U.S. Government react when Iran gives terrorists nuclear weapons? What liberties will Americans then lose? Will Muslim terrorists have won? Will Americans have lost America qua America? Will the U.S. no longer be the Land of Liberty?

Rather than allow D.C.-ensconced Congresscritters to sacrifice America's core liberties in exchange for illusory safety, the Pacster would rather chance statistically improbable death at the hands of Muslim maniacs.

After all, isn't that what is meant by, "Give me liberty or give me death!"?

— PacRim Jim
The Shapeless Killer    November 2010

A strange and sudden sweat runs down my skin,
I tremble, seeing young men of my age
In the flower of youth as sweet as it is fair;
I wish it could last longer; but it goes
Fast as a dream, this honored Youth, and Age,
The Shapeless Killer, hangs close over us.

— by Mimnermus (fl. about 630-600 BC), translated by Dorothea Wender
Remind you of anyone?    November 2010

pedant

a meer Scholar, a School-master, a Man of one kind of Learning or Business, out of which he is good for nothing

— by B.E, Gent., A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, in its several Tribes, of Gypsies, Beggers, Thieves, Cheats, &c., with An Addition of Some Proverbs, Phrases, Figurative Speeches, &c, Useful for all sorts of People, (especially Foreigners) to secure their Money and preserve their Lives; besides very Diverting and Entertaining, being wholly New (1699)
The Wit of Tacitus    November 2010

To philosophers, too, [Emperor Nero] devoted some of his time after dinner, enjoying their quarrelsome assertions of contradictory views.

Foreign influences demoralize our young men into shirkers, gymnasts, and perverts.

—Tacitus, Annals, translated by Michael Grant
From PacRim Jim's Dictionary    November 2010

voter
A quadrennial nuisance to whom much is promised and from whom much is taken. BR>
— PacRim Jim
Death by Multiculturalism    October 2010

Next time a European corners you, looks down his irregular nose, sniffs superciliously, and deigns to explain how sophisticatedly intelligent and intelligently sophisticated Europeans are, recall Europe's choice to multiculture itself.

Colonialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, socialism, nihilism, and now multiculturalism. Each time Europeans are certain that a manifestly obvious idea transcends messy human experience, ditches fill with dead Europeans, by the millions.

This time, however, will be different. It will be not be merely Europeans who die, but Europe qua Europe.

So, goodbye, home of Newton, Goethe, Michelangelo, Debussy, Johnson, Einstein.

Through their tears, your ancestors would say, "Sic transit gloria mundi."

— PacRim Jim
Potlatch Redux    October 2010

American families are hurting.

By the tens of thousands, newly impoverished American families are being dispossessed of their beloved homes, to face hopeless futures of humiliation and degradation. Can you imagine their suffering? Whatever will they tell their children?

If only there were something we could do to help our fellow Americans in their time of extreme need.

There is: Revive the potlatch, American style.

The potlatch was an important ceremony of the Indians of the northwest coast of North America, at which the host demonstrated his wealth by giving away gifts to guests, in proportion with his wealth. In other words, the host earned status by giving rather than keeping, reminiscent of Ebenezer Scrooge (but not just once a year).

The U.S. has no shortage of wealth, but disposable wealth is concentrated among those upon whom the fates have not just smiled, but grinned, snickered, tittered, giggled, and belly-laughed. So, those of you among the approximately 3,000,000 American families who have accumulated wealth exceeding $1 million might consider rescuing a neighbor family—if only for a while— by stopping by your bank, walking into the manager's office, and offering to pay off the months of overdue mortgage payments of a family on the verge of the precipice.

A naive proposal? Perhaps.

But the Pacster still has faith in the generosity of the American people.

— PacRim Jim
Too Important    October 2010

Government is too important to be left to politicians.

— PacRim Jim
The Art of the Narrow Escape    October 2010

Is not the periodic impoverishment that is a deep recession salubrious for our society?
Painfully destructive though it undoubtedly is, such a reversal of fortune reminds us that wealth is not always easily come by. For what comes of easily won abundance? In the U.S., the Sixties and its sequela, most unfortunately the emergence of yet another America-hating aristocracy manqué.
Remember, the occasional bullet zinging past the ear serves to remind one of what is truly essential along the bumpy rut of life.
We'll endure it—and we'll do what Americans have always done: profit from the experience.

— PacRim Jim
Porquois Metric?    September 2010

If the metric system is preferable to other systems, why are there:

365 days per year?
12 months per year?
28-31 days per month?
24 hours per day?
60 minutes per hour?
60 seconds per minute?
360 degrees in a circle?
Only two numbers (0, 1) in Computerese?
And why is the number 80 expressed as "quatre-vingts" in French?

If ease of division, ease of signal disambiguation, and historical reasons suffice, then why the metric system?

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    September 2010

post-gustator
An eater of leftovers.

— PacRim Jim
Hoi Polloi University    September 2010

American universities have become institutions for enriching faculty and staff, while impoverishing students and fuzzing whatever critical thinking that might inhere.

PacRim Jim therefore suggests the development of free, Web-based, collaborative universities based on the YouTube model. Millions of contributors would ensure up-to-date, relevant material, and an AI-based screening tool would assess the individual student's current status and hence their educational needs. Since classes could be time-shifted, they would be available to anyone in the world, at any time. Everyone in the world would be allowed to enroll for as long as necessary (or desired).

Most importantly, no existing government or other institution would be allowed to define or restrict content.

Welcome to HPU!

— PacRim Jim
A Number Most Unlisted    September 2010

A team of Australian and English astrophysicists has found evidence that the laws of physics differ in different parts of the universe.

That just might complicate the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) outside of our home galaxy, if any there be.

— PacRim Jim
Credulity    August 2010

Of all kinds of credulity, the most obstinate and wonderful is that of political zealots; of men, who, being numbered, they know not how nor why, in any of the parties that divide a state, resign the use of their own eyes and ears, and resolve to believe nothing that does not favour those whom they profess to follow.

— Samuel Johnson, The Idler, No. 10, 1758
Failure    August 2010

Those who have attempted much have seldom failed to perform more than those who never deviate from the common roads of action;...it is, therefore, just to encourage those who endeavour to enlarge the power of art, since they often succeed beyond expectation; and when they fail, may sometimes benefit the world even by their miscarriages.

— Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 99, 1753
Reminder    August 2010

Every government...is perpetually degenerating towards corruption, from which it must be rescued at certain periods by the resuscitation of its first principles, and the re-establishment of its original constitution.

— Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 156, 1751
Of Surpassing Concision    August 2010

We are all prompted by the same motives, all deceived by the same fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure.

— Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 60, 1750
Make History or Be History    August 2010

The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich grew corrupt, and, in their corruption, sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another.

— Samuel Johnson, Review of Thomas Blackwell's Memoirs of the Court of Augustus in Literary Magazine, 1756.
Wisdom Restored    August 2010

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it. — Thomas d'Urfey.

Love gilds us over and makes us show fine things to one another for a time, but soon the gold wears off, and then again the native brass appears. — George Etherege

Varnished over with good breeding, many a blockhead makes a tolerable show. — George Etherege
Whatta Country!    July 2010

Only in the USA could one sail through life without direction, without ambition.

— PacRim Jim
Inter Pares    July 2010

Henry James for P.G. Wodehouse—an equitable trade, indeed.

— PacRim Jim
Similitude    July 2010

In a pensive mood, PacRim Jim observed that a society, like a human body, is vigorous when young, with optimally functioning organs called institutions that senesce with age.
Before dying, however, a society gives birth to a perfect, new version of itself, as the British Empire gave birth to the U.S.
This, however, begs the question, What legacy will America leave before it ineluctably surrenders to the assaults of time?
The Pacster believes that that legacy will be strong-AI-driven worlds in virtual reality, which would rapidly evolve in accordance with their own, unique rules.
While alive, all people in all societies would be able to replicate themselves in VR, knowing that they would remain in peak form—within spec, so to speak—over the presumed eons to come.
Not much of legacy, admittedly, but at least it would—will—be novel.

— PacRim Jim
Death by Internet    June 2010

PRJ has noticed that the Internet abounds with free information that informs people how to get jobs that require charging others for information.
Does no one else see the irony?

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    June 2010

suru suru (Japanese verb)
To use "suru" + noun for all verbs, instead of native Japanese verbs.

— PacRim Jim
Opening July 4 at a Theater Near You    June 2010

Rambo Redoes D.C.: And This Time He's Undiplomatic!

— PacRim Jim
Semantic Antics    June 2010

1 day + 1 night = 1 day

— PacRim Jim
Mirabile dictu!    June 2010

There are folks alive who were born in the 19th century.
That's before the iPhone, the PC, the Internet, rock-'n-roll, the TV, the airplane, the automobile, the telephone, the movie,...even electricity.
More unsurprisingly, everyone alive now was born before immortality.

— PacRim Jim
Unasked Question #6    May 2010

Why is it, do you suppose, that minorities, women, artists, writers, and others—the very groups most persecuted historically by authoritarian governments—are now most supportive of expanded government control?

Has nothing been learned from history?

Has it been forgotten that the larger the government, the smaller the citizen?

— PacRim Jim
If Not    May 2010

If not now, when?

If not here, where?

If not you, who?

— PacRim Jim
Caveat Isolocalism    May 2010

America's persistent curse is that, for historical reasons, its two centers of power are confined to essentially the same tiny area of the East: Wall Street in New York City and the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C.

This deprives the rest of the country of participation in the financial and political governance of the country.

For that reason, PRJ would recommend moving the government and financial center to, say, Dallas and Boise, were it not that he has too much respect for the two cities.

In any event, the move is long overdue, though it should be to middle-American cities far from the two coasts (and each other), because the East Coast is beholden to accursed Europe, and the tag-along West Coast is beholden to the East Coast.

— PacRim Jim
Unseen Bumper Stickers    May 2010

Dangerous When Sober

Light is life. / Heavy is death.

— PacRim Jim
Racism, Thy Name is Democrat    May 2010

Americans educated since 1970, read and learn:

1830s  President Andrew Jackson of what became the Democrat Party was responsible for the forced relocation of 45,000 Cherokee and other Indians, thousands of whom died en route.

1861  When antislavery Republican Abraham Lincoln became President in 1861, Southern Democrats launched the Civil War to retain 4,000,000 slaves.

1865  Ku Klux Klan founded by Democrat soldiers of the Confederate Army.

1942  Japanese-Americans interned in concentration camps by Democrat President FDR.

1963  George Wallace, Democrat Governor of Alabama, blocks a doorway, temporarily preventing black students from registering at the University of Alabama.

1964  Democrat Senator Robert Byrd filibustered against passage of the Civil Rights Act. Bill passes only because of overwhelming Republican support.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    May 2010

fatdebt
What becomes of a person who saves his money on his body rather than in a bank.

— PacRim Jim
Far Freakin' Out    May 2010

The bad trip of the 1960s will finally end on February 20, 2013, when a pro-American adult will be sworn in as President.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Pundemonium    May 2010

Hungary?
China minus Turkey equals Greece.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    May 2010

porcelit
Bathroom reading material

— PacRim Jim
Undo You™    April 2010

For sale: Undo You™
Description: A wrist-worn Multiverse transporter that delivers one into a random placid universe, moments before one's life in this universe is perturbed.
Price: US$1,499.95 (payable in advance)
Limit: 1 per customer

— PacRim Jim
Res Ipsa Loquitur    April 2010

Q. Why Jonathan Pollard?
A. Baraq Obama.

— PacRim Jim
Chez Hollywood    April 2010

Feel old?
Hollywood is moribund. Long live Hollywood!
Over the coming decade or two, software tools will become available that will allow thousands of auteurs manqué to create professional-looking movies at home, and then distribute them over the Web.
The artificial intelligence-based software will generate the script, score, etc., according to set parameters. Avatar modules will be available for thousands of movie actors, past and present, which will realistically simulate their voice and behavior. (Avatars of oneself and one's friends also could be included.)
Imagine Gone with the Wind, starring the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields.
Such "movies" could be set to unfold differently each time "watched," with a different cast, different plot, different music, etc.
Ultimately, connection would be directly to the human brain, so the "viewer" would experientially become a character in the Gesamtkunstwerk gestalt of a movie.
Given the optimal experience, why return to real life?
Feel old yet?

— PacRim Jim
Inadvisable Sport #12    April 2010

Humiliating a German

— PacRim Jim
Govett's Law of Progress    April 2010

A civilization that feels compelled to boast of its achievements has achieved little.

— PacRim Jim
Who me?    April 2010

Either/Or

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Equation of Personal Freedom    March 2010

PF = 1/G

  where:
  PF = personal freedom
   G = size of government
  PF is undefined when G = 0

Thus, the larger the government, the less the personal freedom, and vice-versa.

— PacRim Jim
Ignorance in Action    March 2010

Obama is as naive as he thinks he is clever.

— PacRim Jim
Antebellum Redux    March 2010

With Obamacare, Democrats have finally extracted revenge against Republicans, who ended Democrat-supported slavery by precipitating the Civil War.
Problem is, by enslaving all Americans to Obamacare, Democrats have again demonstrated their moral corruption and have willfully precipitated the Second Civil War. They will lose again, but not before naturalizing 10-20 million Democrat-beholden illegal aliens and vitiating the American military worldwide, thereby jeopardizing the security of the United (?) States.
The Pacster hopes the victory will be more than Pyrrhic.

— PacRim Jim
Pay a Little More Now or a Lot More Later    March 2010

Before buying yet another geegaw made in China, the Pacster asks you to please consider that, though the product might seem cheaper, in the long run it actually would be much more expensive—to you, to your children, and to your country—considering the following partial list of drawbacks:
* Production in China entails the loss of American manufacturing jobs.
* Fewer American manufacturing jobs means lower wages, which ripple throughout the economy.
* Fewer American jobs means poorer Americans, and thus a higher welfare burden.
* Poorer Americans means a higher crime rate.
* Poorer Americans means greater dependence on the government, and thus reduced personal liberty.
* Sending money to China means Chinese dictation of American economic policy.
* Sending money to China means Chinese dictation of American domestic and foreign policies.
* Sending money to China means higher taxes to pay for a stronger military to defend against a better-armed and more belligerent China.

If you insist on buying foreign-made goods, buy Mexican goods. At the very least, increased demand for Mexican goods would improve the Mexican economy and slow the flood of illegal aliens into the U.S. (and onto U.S. welfare rolls).

Next trip to the emporium, make your purchasing decisions as if America's future depends on them, because it does.

— PacRim Jim
Binocular Cyclops    March 2010

We humans appear to have two eyes. This, though, is but a Newtonian illusion.
Let the Pacster explain:
Gaze at yourself in a mirror.
Two eyes, right?
Wrong!
Approach the mirror until the tip of your nose touches it.
Now how many eyes have you?
Right, only one quantumly superposed, spooky-action-at-a-distance eye.
QED

— PacRim Jim
The Ever-obliging Refrigerator    March 2010

When looking for a snack in the refrigerator, if you look long enough, you will find one last box or can of it, however hopeless the quest may seem at first—and it's usually behind the pickles.

— PacRim Jim
Looking Up, Looking Down (Redux)    March 2010

Either/Or

— PacRim Jim
Not in This Lifetime    March 2010

Apropos absolutely nothing, the Pacster has long resisted reading James Joyce's Ulysses for four reasons:
* Not Irish
* Not Catholic
* Not alcoholic
* Not masochistic (but then I repeat myself)

— PacRim Jim
Temporal Surfeit    March 2010

Too much time. Too few watches.

— PacRim Jim
Biters of Hands    March 2010

Why, the Pacster wonders, is it that those who benefit most from a society are the least appreciative and supportive of it?

— PacRim Jim
A Matter of Vermicular Perspective    February 2010

To worms, trees are sky-roots.

— PacRim Jim
Punctilious Compulsion    February 2010

When writing the letter i, PRJ never fails to scrupulously apply the dot before the descender.
The rationale?
He'll never have to dot his last "i"—an accomplishment of sorts, so it would seem.

— PacRim Jim
Hitbots?    February 2010

Dubai cameras have disclosed why Israel has been working so diligently on robotics and artificial intelligence for lo these many years:
Hitbots.

— PacRim Jim
Singularities Four    February 2010

* Solar Singularity
When a single supermassive star reaches the end of its short, furious life, fusion stops and the star collapses almost instantaneously into a dimensionless point, called a black hole, whose gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape (hence the name). Thousands of these lurk throughout every galaxy.

* Galactic Singularity
At the center of every galaxy is a voracious black hole that has swallowed thousands of suns and crunched their masses to a point whose density is almost infinite.

* Space-Time Singularity
The infinitely dense point that expanded 13.7 billion years ago to form space-time (i.e., this universe).

* Technological Singularity
The runaway acceleration of technology beyond human understanding, which is predicted to occur within the next few decades.

Now you know.

— PacRim Jim
A Man's Man    February 2010

Capt. Phil Harris

— PacRim Jim
PRJ Wonders Why    February 2010

A point is defined as having dimensions of zero.
Why, then, can any number of them be concatenated to form a line having length?

— PacRim Jim
Wait...Loss    January 2010

The Life Diet


— PacRim Jim
Marx Sarx    January 2010

If history teaches us anything, it's that history teaches the Left nothing.

— PacRim Jim
Musings of the Unamused    January 2010

Apropos the U.S. Constitution, a big document cannot survive a small people.

Apropos the antics in D.C., a well-meaning nitwit is a nitwit notwithstanding.

— PacRim Jim
Peoples of the Government, by the Government, and for the Government    January 2010

In the late 18th century, the United States was formed as a union of sovereign member states. In the late 20th century, the sovereignty of the 50 individual states passed to the federal government in the city named after the single American most opposed thereto.

In the mid-20th century, the European Union was formed as a union of sovereign member states. In the late 20th century, the sovereignty of the 27 individual states passed to the federal government in the city whose name is reminiscent of an overachieving vegetable.

Why? you ask.
Could it just be to control hoi polloi, you and me, the common citizens who exist solely to work and pay taxes that enable the implementation of the grandiose plans of our "betters"?
Was the ultimate object of the American Revolution to reimpose a permanent, supercilious aristocracy?
Have these federal power-grabs necessitated a Second American Revolution and a First European Revolution?

— PacRim Jim
Beyond the Spin    January 2010

Democrat Party
Where the unemployable power-hungry are abetted by tattletales of the media and show-offs of Hollywood.

— PacRim Jim
Yes to Yes, No to No    January 2010

Ever wonder why younger people tend to be Democrat while older people tend to be Republican?
The Pacster knows.

During their teenage years, youths are programmed to escape from the seemingly arbitrary domination of their parents, who oppose their plans with increasing frequency and force (and usually with good reason).
Meanwhile, having no responsibilities, their contemporaries evince a more laissez-faire attitude, under the all-encompassing rubric "whatever, dude."

Which political party, then, acts like parents, saying "No" when deemed necessary, and which always says "Yes," however detrimental to the individual and the nation?
Exactly!

— PacRim Jim
American Idle    January 2010

American Idle: The Search for an Unemployed Superstar

A reality competition to find unemployable voters with no discernible talent, created by the Democrat Jobkiller Union.
The program debuted on NBC in January of 2009, and has since become one of the least popular shows in America.
It aims at discovering the worst workers in the country, through a series of nation-wide auditions and subsequent viewer voting.
The contestant age range is currently 13 to dependence on the government.
The series employs a panel of judges—none of whom has ever held a private-sector job—who critique the contestants' performances and solicit their votes.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    January 2010

nexplanation
an explanation that better explains a given phenomenon

— PacRim Jim
A New Year's Wish    January 2010

Turn the country around

— PacRim Jim
Creators 1, Pirates 0.5    January 2010

New year, new ideas.
To wit: Publishers of books, movies, TV programs, and music are furious that, despite copyright protection, their content is being stolen (and possibly resold) willy-nilly by Billy BitTorrents the world over, because digitized content is vulnerable to abstraction via the Web.
Nobody profits, nobody publishes, nobody gets published.
True—as far as it goes.
Consider, however, some advantages of stealable content:
First, it virally infects possible customers, without cost. Millions who otherwise would live their lives unsullied by attractively packaged cultural effluvia would, in effect, become advertisers thereof.
As important: What they steal is modifiable, particularly e-books. Each week, authors, for example, could add value by rewriting existing scenes, adding new ones, modifying plots, deepening characterization, etc., perhaps based on suggestions by fans on blogs dedicated to the works.
The fast cycle time would keep publishers—often the authors—ahead of sundry pirates, which is to say: profitable.
True, there would be neither ISBN number nor copyright protection, but have those any utility in a digital age? The Pacster thinks not.
The same applies mutatis mutandis to other forms of digitized content.
Sound like a good idea? The Pacster thinks so.

— PacRim Jim
The Past Is Present    December 2009

It occurs to the Pacster that if someone were to construct on the Web a virtual world for each year of the past, complete with faithful cultural and physical environments, we humans would be able to visit (or re-inhabit) any past year of interest, in the form of our avatar. The motive: curiosity, pleasure-seeking or, at times, refuge.
Eventually, after our brains are directly linked to the Web, our virtual lives might become preferable to our "real lives."
I'm packing my bag—rather, my avatar's bag.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's EZ Expertise    December 2009

Like you, the Pacster wants to know a lot but doesn't want to learn it. For that reason, he's a fan of mnemonics (memory aids) such as the following:

Q. How can one tell the difference between a crow and a raven?
A. The crow has a curved tail, like "c" in "crow," while the raven has an angular tail, like "v" in "raven."

Q. In a cave, which is the stalactite and which is the stalagmite?
A. "Stalactite" contains "c" as in "ceiling," and "stalagmite" contains "g" as in "ground."

Q. Which camel has one hump, and which two?
A. The dromedary camel has one hump, like "D." The Bactrian camel has two humps, like "B."

Q. What is the top-down hierarchy used in biological classification (Linnaean taxonomy)?
A. Remember: "Kings Play Chess On Fat Girls' Stomachs," the mnemonic for "kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species."

Class dismissed.

— PacRim Jim
Top 10 Achievements of Decade One    December 2009

Before rushing into the second decade of the 21st century, PacRim Jim would fain pause a moment to consider the top ten human achievements of the first decade:

* Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org)—Ignorance is an excuse no longer
* YouTube (www.youtube.com)—I'm more normal than I thought
* Sequencing of the human genome by the Human Genome Project—What's left of our ancestors
* Universal adoption of digital and wireless portable devices—We are become net nodes
* Liberation of 30 million Iraqis—You're welcome
* Discovery of water on the moon—Future portal for exploration of deep space
* Rover exploration of Mars—Save for your down-payment, as the planet will be terraformed late in the century
* Obsolescence of intellectual property rights—Why create?
* America's and Europe's discovery of the incompatibility of freedom and Big Government—Yet again
* Technological Singularity—Fast-approaching and most-significant inflection point in human history

— PacRim Jim
Thanks Given    November 2009

This Thanksgiving, the Pacster is particularly grateful to Middle America, America's ballast, because it reflexively preserves us from the dogma and degeneracy of the littoral loonies, who should know better and should be ashamed of the damage they do to this land of the average Joe and Jane.

— PacRim Jim
PacRim Jim's Law of Fecundity    November 2009

An inverse correlation exists between exposure to sex and the number of children born.
To wit, the more omnipresent sex in its manifold forms, the fewer the number of babies.

— PacRim Jim
Palin By Comparison    November 2009

If the Left's hatred for Sarah Palin seems irrational, consider:
Males of the Left loathe her because she's everything they'll never have.
Females of the Left loathe her because she's everything they'll never be.

Corollary: The Left being what it is, the aphorism applies mutatis mutandis with regard to sex.

— PacRim Jim
Accelerating Anachronism    November 2009

Ever notice how the acceleration of science, technology, and culture have outmoded hippies (1960s), disco dancers (1970s), Devo (1980s), even Y2K (1990s)?
Human material culture, too, has evolved at an accelerating pace. Remember rotary phones? No, really, there were phones with finger-spun dials.
It has occurred to PacRim Jim—as does all, later rather than sooner—that we are anachronizing culture at increasingly shorter intervals.
The implication: We humans shall be subjected to profoundly disorienting cultural change—driven by disruptive technological innovations—every few years, then every few months, then every few hours, then....
"Humans will not be able to adapt to such change," you protest? Not as presently constituted, admittedly. But synchrony will be achieved by means of yet another disturbing development, mirabile dictu: Humans will redesign themselves so as to remain synchronized with the pace of technological and cultural change.
Real-time adaptation. Sum ergo cogito.
The Pacster can't wait.
No, literally.

— PacRim Jim
A Call to Compassion    November 2009

The current recession, the cruelest trial since the Great Depression of the 1930s, is grinding down the self-esteem of millions of American families, to whom the American Dream now seems a cruel, receding hoax.
What can we Americans do to alleviate such suffering of our relatives and neighbors?
The answer is simple: Be compassionate.
If you have a job that provides you with disposable income, don't waste it all on frivolities that are forgotten as soon as they are "consumed."
Instead, without patronizing them, locate and aid a suffering family near you. This might require some investigation because most American families are reluctant—i.e., too proud—to ask for help, often to an end exceedingly bitter: homelessness, divorce, starvation.
Your help could allow that endangered family to survive intact.
Not only that, but you would become a better human.
THAT is the American Dream.

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    November 2009

whinority
a minority that continually whines about mistreatment, real or perceived

— PacRim Jim
American Nomenclatura    November 2009

Rich and powerful Democrats within the D.C. Inner Circle have a primary, unstated objective:
Tax and regulate average American Joes and Janes, so that they cannot become rich and powerful.

— PacRim Jim
You For Sale    November 2009

Back in the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was new, people paid for lists of e-mail addresses, however obtained, which they then aggregated and sold as bigger lists to hucksters of every ambition.
Now that the biotech revolution is proceeding apace, look for the same to happen with our genomes, epigenomes, proteomes, omeomes, etc.
Yours, PacRim Jim's, and those of the dog sniffing the hydrant will be added to bandwidth-challenging lists marketed globally (and expensively) to Nigerians or whomever, who will then deluge us with offers—bogus and otherwise—regarding how to avoid this or that burst of artery or invasion of cells.
The Pacster is saving his money even now.

— PacRim Jim
The Courage of Their Principles    November 2009

PacRim Jim often visits a small university town in Northern California, that is home to six registered Democrats for each scorned Republican.
Before and after the presidential election of 2008, Obama was marketed on every other auto bumper and microlawn sign—next to the For Sale sign.
Of late however, the Pacster has detected nary one such hopey/changey attestation. Not a single, sappy logo.
It was, perhaps, Thomas Carlyle who in the 19th century first juxtaposed "courage" and "principles."
But that was long ago.

— PacRim Jim
PRJ's Law of Marketing    November 2009

The less it costs to access a communications channel, the less worthy of attention are the goods advertised via the channel.
Consider the World Wide Web.

— PacRim Jim
A Singular Religion    November 2009

Long ago, helpless humans in an indifferent universe invented—evolved?— religion, which posits an off-world paradise after death.
Recently, desperate brains brighter—read "younger"—than mine have discovered an escape clause: the Singularity, which posits an on-world paradise instead of death.
Count the Pacster among those with faith—that the brain can ultimately solve any problem it can formalize.

— PacRim Jim
High Irony    October 2009

PacRim Jim finds it ironic that Obama, whose name is the abbreviation for "OB (obstetrician) of the AMA (American Medical Association)," is attempting to bureaucratize medicine.

— PacRim Jim
Looking Up, Looking Down    October 2009

Either/Or

— PacRim Jim
In Case You've Forgotten    October 2009

Democracy:  Unrestricted rule by the majority

Constitutional republic:  Limited majority rule, without power to infringe individual rights

Socialism:  State ownership of industry (i.e., production and distribution)

Communism:  State ownership of industry and society  

Do you know which applies to the United States? (Hint: It's not the first, third or fourth.)

Are you willing to sacrifice it for a coin and a smile?

— PacRim Jim
Which is the Real Obama?    October 2009

Which be the real Obama?

— PacRim Jim
Neologism by PRJ    October 2009

to obama
n. to bestow an embarrassing excess of unearned honors, prizes, money, etc., simply to make a political point

— PacRim Jim
Noblesse Oblige    October 2009

Does no one see the parallel between the bread and circuses of ancient Rome and the economic stimuli and Olympics of Emperor—I mean President—Obama?

— PacRim Jim
Two Ideas for TV Series Pitched to TV Execs by PRJ    September 2009

* Fraidy Ghost
   A neurotic ghost haunts a secluded house—but at such a distance that the wacky family living therein never spot him.
* Fraidy Bat
   A vampire terrified of the dark decides to sleep through the night and prey on victims during the day. Not surprisingly, this spin-off runs for a single episode only.

— PacRim Jim
The Chicago Three-Step    September 2009

Chi - ca - go,
Al - Ca - pone,
Al - Bun - dy,
O - ba - ma

— PacRim Jim
On Accelerating Downhill    September 2009

America is fast approaching the abyss of a depression-triggered, freedom-stealing revolution, as the following unfavorable trends inexorably converge:
* trillions of dollars of American debt owed to China and Japan, whose enormous interest will be paid by our children and grandchildren, and will consume more and more of the national budget, allowing foreign piper-payers to call America's tune indefinitely
* institutionalized Congressional profligacy, as politicians print increasingly worthless dollars night and day, to purchase their own re-election
* the first American president who exhibits European-level contempt for Americans and their institutions
* the easily bamboozled electorate, graduates of a sham educational system that discourages critical thinking based on available facts, who happily vote for a promise, a coin, and a stricken pose
* ineluctable hyperinflation, which will destroy the purchasing power of the dollar—more zeroes on the dollar, anyone?
* increased control of Americans by all levels of government, "for public safety"
* Muslim terrorism in America's neighborhoods, as American soldiers are withdrawn to fight in America's streets rather than in a distant, dusty "-stan"
* emboldened economic and military opponents of all weight classes, itching to step over—not without a little kick—prostrate America
* ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
The America that will emerge from this crucible will be a dispirited, self-doubting, recrimination-filled America—a mere shadow of the land entrusted to us by our ancestors.
The jig is up. The Sixties won.

— PacRim Jim
By Extension    September 2009

Obama inexplicable?
Recall that he is from Chicago, the brute capital of institutionalized corruption.
Understandably, Obama believes the rest of America to be as depraved as his hometown.
Hence his contempt for America as a whole.

— PacRim Jim
0 + 0 = –0    September 2009

Pity the triply hexed resident of Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
A basketball player is mayor of their bankrupt city.
An actor is governor of their bankrupt state.
A basketball-playing actor is president of their bankrupt country.
Indeed, this is the Age of the Spendthrift Amateur.

— PacRim Jim
America, Obama, and a...    September 2009

Since Obama's betrayal of Poland, Poles tell American jokes—and with good reason.

— PacRim Jim
Humanhattan Projects    August 2009

PacRim Jim entreats the U.S. Government to urgently consider new projects for priority spending:
* Anti-Aging Project, which would benefit all
* Desalination Project, which is desperately needed by farmers

— PacRim Jim
Recipe for Deracination    August 2009

Within memory, mothers grew babies by consuming local foods that tied their babies to their birthplace.
Now, however, much food consumed by mothers is grown in distant soils.
Their babies, it follows, are no longer identified with any particularly locality, making them babies of everywhere (or nowhere).

— PacRim Jim
Losers    August 2009

Deep inside, we humans know ourselves to be losers.
Else why do we acquiesce to death, every last one of us?
The inescapable conclusion is that we are disposable prototypes who run with eyes closed, toward the abyss.
Losers, in other words.

— PacRim Jim
The Die-lemma    August 2009

Sad to say, American democracy is too precious to be entrusted to easily beguiled voters who, given time, would give away their liberty in exchange for a smile and a coin.
Tears don't express the Pacster's sadness at the thought.

— PacRim Jim
A Certain Horror    August 2009

Apropos the recently reported 18-year kidnapping of a girl in California, PacRim Jim recalls—not without a shiver—a prophetic conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in The Adventure of the Cooper Beeches, by Arthur Conan Doyle:

All over the countryside, away to the rolling hills around Aldershot, the little red and grey roofs of the farm-steadings peeped out from amid the light green of the new foliage.

"Are they not fresh and beautiful?" I [Dr. Watson] cried with all the enthusiasm of a man fresh from the fogs of Baker Street.

But Holmes shook his head gravely.

"...You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there."

"Good heavens!" I cried. "Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?"

"They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."

"You horrify me!"

"But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser...."

— PacRim Jim
Thank You, Mr. Schorer    August 2009

PacRim Jim just finished reading The World We Imagine by the late literary critic Mark Schorer (1908-1977).
This forgotten but unforgettable collection of essays analyzes the works and lives of the leading American writers of the early 20th century, among them Sinclair Lewis, Hamlin Garland, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Sherwood Anderson, Truman Capote, et al.
Would that the Pacster could have met Mr. Schorer for an evening's chat. He would have said, "Thank you for your myriad labors. Thank you for your delightfully limpid prose. And thank you for making me appreciate the value of a master literary critic."

— PacRim Jim
Rebooting Civilization    August 2009

The 21st century will see the first adult civilization.
Until the 18th century, civilizations were childish, with caesars, emperors, kings et al. in loco parentis.
With the American Revolution, adolescent civilization arrived, with all the awkwardness and immaturity characteristic thereof.
In this century, an adult civilization will arise. When and in what form even the Pacster knows not. Perhaps it will be run by artificial intelligence interfaced with each human via a descendant of the Internet. Ultimately, however, it will be global.
By the end of the 21st century, however, AI will have evolved far beyond us humans, however we might modify ourselves to keep pace. It will be of no avail, so humans will become the figurative cockroaches scurrying between shadowy recesses of the AI empire.
We humans will have a glorious past.

— PacRim Jim
Aging near Lambda    July 2009

In a sight of inflash, it occurred to PacRim Jim that the elderly already know what it's like to travel near the speed of light.
Not only does time dilate from the perspective of oldsters, in that time seems to pass faster for the superannuated than it does for the young, but distance shrinks (in the z-axis).
Dubious?
Ever met an old-timer who complains about the slow pace of time while hopping up and down excitedly?

— PacRim Jim
Guarantors of Sound Sleep    July 2009

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

— George Orwell
Plus c'est la même chose, plus c'est la même chose    July 2009

America, 1860:
The white U.S. President tolerates the indefinite confiscation of the earnings of 4,000,000 black workers, making them de jure slaves.

America, 2010:
The black U.S. President tolerates the indefinite confiscation of the earnings of 150,000,000 workers of every hue, making them de jure slaves.

What a difference a sesquicentennial makes.

Ironic? Yes. But at least the irony is symmetrical.

— PacRim Jim
Bail out! Bail out!    July 2009

The worse the economy, the more the tens of millions of Democrat sheep will look to the federal government for help, the worse the economy will become.
Is this downward spiral eluctable?

— PacRim Jim
Montaigne on Children    July 2009

We are vexed that they should tread on our heels, as if to urge our departure.

— Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1580
Modern Sci-Fi    July 2009

Want some modern sci-fi. I'll give you some:
Zoom, boom, wow!
Zoom, boom, wow!
Kiss, kiss.
Zoom, boom, wow!
Zoom, boom, cool!
Sequel hook.
End

— PacRim Jim
That Toddlin' Town    June 2009

America, America, that toddlin' town.
America is now Chicago. Not Al Bundy Chicago. Al Capone Chicago.

— PacRim Jim
Dying English    June 2009

Term: gadzooks
Meaning: an expression of surprise
Example: Gazooks, Yolanda! I seem to have an arrow in my neck.

— PacRim Jim
2009 Japanorama Prize    June 2009

Each year, between late-morning and early-afternoon naps, PacRim Jim determines the highest-rated agency for Japanese patent translation, based on content fidelity, on-time delivery, and affordable rate.
This year the Japanorama Prize is awarded to...wait for it...the industrious folks at Japatent.
Between mouthfuls of popcorn, the Pacster proclaims, "Huzzah and omedeto!"

— PacRim Jim
Requiescat in Pace, Eric Blair    June 2009

During this year, the 60th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's (Eric Blair's) 1984, the Pacster has but one abiding thought thereupon:
If the effect of 1984 has been so salubrious, why do free people continue to vote away their freedom?
Implicit in man's complicity in his own servitude is the inescapable conclusion that there is something ineradicably perverse about us humans; that what we deserve, we get.

— PacRim Jim
In medias res    June 2009

Aspiring writers, lift your bleary orbs from your writer's block and attend. PacRim Jim has identified trends that will steer your career, for good or ill:

Trend 1:
Young people are too preoccupied tickling mobile geegaws to read a whole book for pleasure or edification.

Trend 2:
Publishing companies are hurting and will downsize, due both to Trend 1 and PDF piracy of their now-portable publications.

Trend 3:
Most importantly, however, though your potential domestic audience might be shrinking like a Wall Street salary, you will be able to sell your Meisterwerks to a worldwide readership, via such Web-based e-book publishers as Scribd.com, which already publishes tens of thousands of e-books, or Google.com, which has announced plans to publish millions of e-books, most of which will no doubt be worth the paper they are printed on.

Dyskarmaphobic writers appreciative of the Pacster's career advice will now uncramp their blocked hands and click on the oh-so-subtle tip jar at the top right of this page. Or not.

— PacRim Jim
So Shall Networking    May 2009

No life? Have less and less to say to more and more people?

The following social networks will happily relieve you of actually living your life:

AdultFriendFinder, Advogato, AmieStreet, ANobii, aSmallWorld, Athlinks, AvatarsUnited, Badoo, Bahu, Bebo, Biip, BlackPlanet, Broadcaster.com, Buzznet, CafeMom, CakeFinancial, Care2, Classmates.com, Cloob, CollegeTonight, CouchSurfing, CozyCot, DeviantART, Disaboom, dol2day, DontStayIn, Elftown, Epernicus, Eons.com, Espinthebottle, ExperienceProject, Facebook, Faceparty, Faces.com, Fetlife, Filmaffinity, Flixster, Flickr, Fotolog, FriendsReunited, Friendster, Frühstückstreff, Fubar, GaiaOnline, GamerDNA, Gather.com, Geni.com, Goodreads, Gossipreport.com, Grono.net, Habbo, hi5, HospitalityClub, Hyves, imeem, IndabaMusic, IRC-Galleria, Italki, InterNations, itsmy, iWiW, Jaiku, JammerDirect, kaioo, Kaixin001, Last.fm, LibraryThing, lifeknot, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Livemocha, LunarStorm, MEETin, Meetup.com, Meettheboss, Mixi, mobikade, MocoSpace, MOG, Multiply, Muxlim, MyAnimeList, MyChurch, MyHeritage, MyLOL, MySpace, myYearbook, Nasza-klasa.pl, Netlog, Nettby, Nexopia, Ning, Odnoklassniki, OkCupid, OneClimate, OneWorldTV, OpenDiary, Orkut, OUTeverywhere, Passportstamp, Pingsta, Plaxo, Playahead, PlayboyU, Plurk, quarterlife, Ravelry, Reunion.com, ResearchGATE, Reverbnation, Ryze, scispace.net, Shelfari, Skyrock, SocialVibe, Sonico.com, Soundpedia, Stickam, StudiVZ, Tagged.com, Talkbiznow, Taltopia, TravBuddy.com, Travellerspoint, tribe.net, Trombi.com, Tuenti.com, Tumblr, Twitter, VKontakte, Vampirefreaks, Viadeo, Vine, Vox, Wasabi, WAYN, WebBiographies, WindowsLiveSpaces, Wis.dm, WiserEarth, Xanga, XING, Xiaonei, Xt3, Yammer, Yelp,Inc., Youmeo, Zoo.gr
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

— PacRim Jim
Reboot America!    May 2009

America has been hijacked by Marxware and is barely functional.

— PacRim Jim
Another Chongarita, Please    May 2009

The Pacster misses Bobo and Brain Guy and Torgo. Life just hasn't been the same without them.

— PacRim Jim
A Word about Democracy    May 2009

To their everlasting shame, Americans have forgotten that, merely three back-to-back lifetimes ago, the United States was founded with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." (This unprecedented relationship is implicit in the very word democracy, which derives from the Greek words demos (people) and kratia (power).)
For a variety of selfish though shortsighted reasons attributable to the ignorance conferred by a degraded educational system, Americans have chosen to cede their hard-won freedoms for the illusory security of government omnipotence.
It remains to be seen whether the government will be equally ready to restore power to its rightful owners: the American people.

— PacRim Jim
Quantal Hooey    May 2009

Quantum physics bugs PacRim Jim. It abounds with nonsensical incantations unverifiable if not patently untrue.
Take, for example, the following two contentions:

* Each choice a person makes splits the universe into two parallel universes.
Suffice it to say that making a choice is not a discrete phenomenon confined to a particular instant, whatever that might be. Exactly when is this split supposed to occur? When the chooser considers making a choice? When this is reflected in bound consciousness? There is no precise instant a choice is made, so the contention is irrational. Q.E.D.

* According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, Schroedinger's cat collapses into a definite state only at the exact moment it is observed (i.e., subjected to quantum measurement).
When, precisely, is an observation made? Is it the moment light from the formerly smeared cat strikes the observer's retinas? The moment the electrochemical information reaches the observer's visual cortex via the optic nerve? The moment the cortex-processed information is bound into consciousness? The word moment itself is ambiguously nonlocal.
Is observation even possible in completely dark room, i.e., one lacking photons?

How, I ask you, can the Pacster take seriously a discipline so sloppy with its terminology?

— PacRim Jim
A Good Run While It Lasted    May 2009

Millions of us Americans are unemployed, frantically worrying about how to pay for food and shelter for our children.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., our elected representatives argue about the morality of interrogating alien terrorists, in between lavish dinners and first-class world tours.
With the best of intentions, we Americans have become a people of the government, by the government, and for the government.

— PacRim Jim
Offffffffffffffff On Offffffffffffffff    May 2009

Q. Of what value is life?
A. It spares one the humiliation of infinite nonexistence.

— PacRim Jim
Facts Be Stubborn Things    May 2009

It has been observed that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. If so, expect the deepening recession to yield millions of conservatives.

— PacRim Jim
California Dreamin'    May 2009

Agriculture + Semiconductors + Software + Movies + Television + Aerospace + Biotech + Nanotech + Universities + Tourism
+ Democrats = Bankruptcy

— PacRim Jim
Europe: Left to the Left    May 2009

In their academic certitude--not to say arrogance--that they alone are wise enough to decide how individuals should lead their own lives, the Left has long sought to transform democracies to statist institutions, in the guise of Socialism, National Socialism (Nazism), and Communism. Once imposed, these bloody control mechanisms provoked in these countries a deep revulsion, an immune response so powerful that the Left despaired of reimposing total control.
Nevertheless, the Left persisted, finally hitting upon the expedient of multiculturalism, and what better culture to import than Muslim cultures? All Muslim states were failed states, so they provided a unlimited supply of fecund emigrants seeking economic opportunity in the West (and, incidentally, to impose the Muslim religion wherever they went). If stubborn citizens would not acquiesce to absolute rule by the Left, then the Left would import Muslims, peoples long accustomed to submission to the absolutest rule: Islam. (It is not for nothing that "Islam" means "submission.") Muslims would support the Left, while reproducing at a rate that would displace the native citizens.
Brilliant! Muslims will allow the Left to retain absolute power indefinitely. Even after Muslim majorities eventuate in midcentury, Muslims will support the Left, unless the Muslims decide to....

— PacRim Jim
Epistemological Observations    May 2009

Govett's Law of Epistemology: Words mean precisely what is obscured by their utterance.
Corollary: Understand them otherwise and be thought an imbecile.

— PacRim Jim
Spend and Tax    April 2009

It occurs to the Pacster that he has repeatedly mischaracterized Democrats as "tax-and-spend Democrats."
Mea culpa.
As their behavior has once again demonstrated, they are "spend-and-tax Democrats."

— PacRim Jim
Sequitur Non    April 2009

Q. What results when a deep recession entails massive debt, sharply higher taxes, runaway inflation, and incompetent leadership?
A. Yes.

— PacRim Jim
Susan's Surprise    April 2009

Compared with Sarah Vaughan, Susan Boyle is an unexceptional singer. Compared with what was initially expected of her, however, she shone.
The discrepancy between her humble appearance and behavior and her professionally controlled performance accounts for the startled reactions.
As PacRim Jim sees it, the lesson here is to set expectations low, so that one will be able to handily exceed them, to the surprise and chagrin of cynical others.

— PacRim Jim
Brief Interview with Boye Lafayette De Mente    April 2009

PRJ:
Boye, thank you for sparing a few moments to answer a couple of questions that have puzzled me for 40 years.
First, how do you pronounce your name, Boye Lafayette De Mente?

Boye:
The accepted [family-preferred] pronunciation of my last name, De Mente, is Deh-Men-tay. The original French spelling was apparently De Mentier, which Anglo-Saxon-Americans couldn’t say, so a number of spelling versions came into use, with De Ment or De Mint being the most common.

PRJ:
As America’s Basil Hall Chamberlain, you have explicated practically every facet of the opaque gem that is Japan. How came you to team up with the Tuttle publishing company in Japan?

Boye:
I first became acquainted with Tuttle in 1953 when Tex Weatherby was the chief editor. I went in and applied for a job, but fortunately wasn’t hired!
In November 1959, Tuttle became the distributor of my very first book, Japanese Manners & Ethics in Business, published by East Asia Publishing Co. (In a subsequent printing, the title was changed to Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business (which is still in print at McGraw-Hill).)
In 1962 I set up a small press in Tokyo with two imprints: Orient Holiday Publishing Company, and Simpson-Doyle Publishing Co. Under these imprints were brought out around a dozen of my own books, all distributed by Tuttle. One of which was Bachelor’s Japan, which became an instant bestseller, with more foreign female residents than men buying the book during its first months on the market.
I sold these imprints when I moved out of Tokyo in the mid-1960s, and thereafter Tuttle published a number of my titles, including slightly updated version of Bachelor’s Japan.
Tex Weatherby resigned from Tuttle in the early 1960s and co-founded Weatherhill Publishing in Tokyo, which later morphed into Walker Weatherhill in New York, which published my The Japanese as Consumers: Asia’s First Mass Market, in the mid-1960s.
In 1966, when I was staying at the New Otani Hotel, the Japanese-language edition of Bachelor’s Japan was the topic of discussion on a television show with a panel consisting of a famous actress, a famous baseball player, a comedian, and Japan’s best known sociologist.
When the four were asked to sum up their opinions of my book, the sociologist said, “Everything De Mente-san wrote is true, but I wish he hadn’t written it!”
Somehow, the news media learned that I was a guest at the New Otani and my phone rang until about 3 a.m., with people asking for live radio interviews. I finally consented to doing one.
After my book The Kata Factor: Japan’s Secret Weapon came out in Japanese in the early 1990s, I was invited to lecture to some 300 Japanese professionals from all fields. During the question-and-answer session that followed, all of the Japanese who spoke up, except one, expressed amazement at my use of the kata to explain the Japanese mindset and behavior—something they had not thought of.
The one who disagreed with the book, Japan’s premiere Shinto authority, said, “Everything Mr. De Mente said is wrong! Shinto, not kata, is responsible for how we Japanese think and behave! He does not mention Shinto at all!”
When he added that, I knew he had not read the book all the way through, because I had attributed much of the early core of Japanese culture to Shinto precepts.
When The Japanization of America came out in Japan as Nihonka Suru Amerika, it had a pretty good run, but at that time the Japanese were so sure that they were going to Japanize the whole world that it was not such a big deal.
After Nick Ingleton took over as the editor-in-chief at Tuttle (in the 80s), he asked me to do a whole series of small books—which I did—and was only partly pleased with the results because the distribution and marketing arms of the company had degenerated.
After my old friend Charlie Tuttle died, his wife’s nephew, Eric Oey, bought the company and merged it with his own imprints: Periplus and Berkeley Books. Eric turned out to be a very good publisher and has evolved the company into a major house; he has brought out some 12 of my titles in the past several years, several of which now have foreign language editions.

PRJ:
Any recent publication news?

Boye:
Although I have been published by over half a dozen Japanese companies, none of the books caused more than a small ripple. A couple co-authored with Michihiro Matsumoto and published by Kodansha made the Amazon.com bestseller list for a few days!!!!

Profile of Boye Lafayette De Mente and list of his publications, formally submitted to the Government of Japan

— PacRim Jim
Seal of Disapproval    April 2009

Four pirates threaten on the sea.
A Seal's bullet; now there are three.
Three pirates yet; a motley crew.
Hot lead leaves Seal; now there are two.
Perhaps the end is evident.
Pirates to hell will be Seal-sent.

— PacRim Jim
Adapt and Die    April 2009

Pity us humans. Confronted with the persistent and awful unknown, we humans coped by inventing religion, a kind of extended childhood that confers meta-parental protection. Who is the worse for that? We humans know not whence or whither we have come or shall go, not to mention why we are here, or even why here is here. Given our predicament, given the horrible, infantilizing reality, is superstition maladaptive? Given that denial comforts us vis-a-vis our ultimate exigency, of what value is truth? Ask yourself: Why do the dying call upon their long-dead mother and their possibly nonexistent God? Why, indeed.

— PacRim Jim
Population Games 2009    March 2009

Nature has been unfair in distributing humans around the globe. Some are diluted by continents, while others are closer to their neighbors than to their mates.
Because this warrants fair reallocation of land, PacRim Jim proposes the following redistribution plan:
The approximately 149,000,000 square kilometers of rock lapped by the oceans are inhabited by about 6,760,000,000 sapiens of the Homo persuasion, which means that about 45.4 humans tend each square km beneath the summer moon.
So, if all humans were spread out evenly over the entire globe, how would the populations of the world's countries change? The following table gives an idea:
Polydays

— PacRim Jim
Hawaii Sold at Wal-Mart    March 2009

Shopped at Wal-Mart recently? Well, thanks to you and other bargain-hunting Americans, the Chinese Government now holds about $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000) of United States Treasuries, an amount large enough to be incomprehensible, since it exceeds the cumulative number of stars in the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and several other galaxies.

Let PacRim Jim explicate the amount in terms understandable to any American worker.

If the $1 trillion is averaged over the lifetime earnings of the average American worker (at present, $1.44 million), who works for, say, the American average of $18 per hour for 40 years at 2000 hours per year, it means that the Chinese now hold enough American capital to purchase the entire careers of about 695,000 American workers.

To put it another way, the Chinese now could exchange their U.S. Treasuries for the entire careers of more American workers than live in the state of Hawaii.

Which state will be next, the Pacster wonders?

— PacRim Jim
Youth    March 2009

"We've all got to be young once,".... "It's like the measles, it breaks out all over you, and you're a nuisance to yourself and everybody else, but it don't last, and it usually don't leave no ill effects."

— Katherine Anne Porter, Noon Wine
Bully for Bull    March 2009

Americans, we have a choice: The D.C. bull or the Wall Street bull.

— PacRim Jim
Bye-bye Biotech    March 2009

Those trillions of dollars taxed from us by hard-left, spend-and-tax liberals might have been invested in the biotechnology and nanotechnology industries. Instead, they will be taxed from potential risk-taking investors and used to purchase the votes of the non-investing improvident.

Worry not, however, even though we and our children won't be able to enjoy the longer, healthier life promised by the two technologies, our grandchildren might, if they will be able to afford the pricey biotech and nanotech products of Chinese capitalists who invested for the long term.

— PacRim Jim
Practice for the Singularity    March 2009

During this deepening recession, suffering will be general, intense, and prolonged. However, it will be a salubrious preview of the myriad permanent paradigm shifts we shall endure during the fast-approaching Singularity.
For readers unfamiliar with the concept, see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

— PacRim Jim
Disconcerting Irony    March 2009

While attempting to free Iraqis and Afghanis, we Americans are losing (discarding?) our own freedom.

— PacRim Jim
010    September 2006

...and I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort—to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires—and expires, too soon, too soon—before life itself.

...our faces marked by toil, by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes looking still, looking always, looking anxiously for something out of life, that while it is expected is already gone—has passed unseen, in a sigh, in a flash—together with the youth, with the strength, with the romance of illusions.

—Joseph Conrad, Youth: A Narrative, 1898
Ode to a Nanotechnologist    September 2006

Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise,
Only to wonder at unlawful things,
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits
To practise more than heavenly power permits.

—Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, 1588
From PRJ's Dictionary    September 2006

New Orleans
A city that compensates for its precarious location between a large lake and a larger river by being below both.

— PacRim Jim
President Everyman    August 2006

Amazing country, this.
Every person, educated or no, better knows how to run America than its president.
We are, truth be told, a nation of presidents who command a populace of one, the elected commander-in-chief.
Thus our inverted pyramid of state wobbles parlously, hither and thither, upon its apex.

— PacRim Jim
Dord of the Way    July 2006

Lawyers
Authors and interpreters of musty monographs of arcane laws intended to ensure that everyone unwittingly breaks some law or other and—mirabile dictu—that they will be there to protect us, the omnium-gatherum of hapless defendants, from the overzealous legal system.

— PacRim Jim
At the Event Horizon of the Singularity    July 2006

Every disease curable and ultimately preventable. Healthy lives spanning millennia. These are the wondrous promises of biotechnology abetted by nanotechnology.

Bring it on, you say.

As ever, the Pacster is dubious, particularly because of a consequence hitherto unexplored.

Imagine that such Faustian power had become available, say, seventy years ago. Those in power then would have been the first to make the jump to relative immortality. Hence they probably would remain in power even today. The same politicians, academics, writers, entertainers, athletes, et al., who monopolized mindshare then would, in all likelihood, continue to do so even now, to the detriment of innovation and cultural vitality.

Hitler, anyone?

— PacRim Jim
It's a Small World Cup    July 2006

Italy. Portugal. Germany. France.

In this particular quadrennial World Cup, all four quarterfinalists are from Europe, a peninsula at the far west of the continent of Asia. All belong to the European Union. Three of the four speak dialects of Latin. In turn, three of the four have conquered the others.

A cup it is, to be sure. But surely not a World Cup. Or even a world cup.

— PacRim Jim
Reward!    July 2006

Lost in the vicinity of 1980s California, the youth of one individual.

Last seen in the San Francisco Bay area.

Reward: Gratitude up the yin-yang and out the wazoo.

Contact the undersigned.

— PacRim Jim
The Time Value of Entertainment    July 2006

Over the dozens of years, the Pacster has noticed that he experiences music and other entertainment differently depending on the time of day.

Hard rock rattles his 206 bones during the day but merely annoys in the earlier hours, when his biorhythms resonate to the soothing harmonies of Gregorian chant. Too, the Pacmeister finds that horror movies are more skin-crawly in the early a.m., after his consciousness has dissolved into spookable irrationality.

This implies that we owe ourselves a systemic analysis of temporal tastes.

Know yourself and conform your entertainment thereto.

Are you listening, media marketing mavens?

— PacRim Jim
Enemies Without, Enemies Within    May 2006

Not that many millennia ago, human survival, like that of other animals, was threatened by external enemies: predators, infectious diseases, parasites, etc.

After millennia of brain evolution and long centuries of trial and error failed to improve our lot significantly, we humans finally developed the scientific method, which has allowed us to overcome most of these life-shorteners.

Now, however, our survival is threatened by our own poor designs and bad habits, novel enemies the more irresistible for their wellsprings within each of us.

Some few of us have been able to overcome such bad habits as poor diet, smoking, inadequate sleep, consumption of alcohol and other drugs, sedentary lifestyles, etc. However, our design (i.e., our DNA) has been incorrigible, at least heretofore.

At long last, thanks to the diligence of thousands of bioscientists, we shall be able to revise the source code that is our parental legacy (which might, incidentally, even correct our bad habits).

We humans have overcome much and just might be on the verge of relative immortality (assuming we will be able to nudge aside a few as yet undetected comets).

— PacRim Jim
Reconquista...de México    May 2006

The Mexican oligarchy is attempting to solve its overpopulation and consequent poverty problems by exporting millions of its peasants to the U.S., whence they will send crucial tens of billions of dollars back to impoverished relatives in Mexico.

What they do not anticipate, however, is that the children and grandchildren of these de facto deportees will effect a reconquest, not of America, but of Mexico.

The success of these descendants in America will demonstrate unambiguously to all Mexicans that it is the Mexican system alone that destroys the dreams of the average Mexican. This realization will prompt profound structural change that will sweep aside the entrenched oligarchy (and, not incidentally, the complicit Catholic patriarchs).

Mexican immigrants will change America, certainly, but it will be Mexico that is reconquered, from the bottom up...American style.

— PacRim Jim
-er or -ee    April 2006

On the playground of childhood, it usually is the proto-Republican who administers a licking to the proto-Democrat.

Decades later, in his beta hours, the aggrieved Democrat will bemoan the brutishness of the Republican.

What the former fails to understand yet the latter knows all too well is that the world is a playground writ large, aswarm with Darwinian bullies aplenty.

That said, would you rather have a Republican or Democrat as your playground buddy?

— PacRim Jim
2001 + 7 = 2001?    April 2006

The 2008 presidential election will be a close-run donnybrook, not to put too fine a point on it. The Republicans and Democrats both will get worse than they give, as always, but the trump card will be held abroad, by Muslim terrorists.

Any sufficiently ghastly terrorist attack in 2008 will stampede millions of undecided voters to vote R, whatever the name prefixed. Were such a bloodbath to occur, the mainstream media would attempt to ignore and minimize it, to protect their D candidate, but to no avail.

Whatever eventuates, at least there will be no hippies.

— PacRim Jim
Èñglîsh    April 2006

Because English letters are unaccented, some consider it a bumpkinish language, less nuanced, less urbane than such languages as German with its umlaut and French with its accent grave.
High atop his high horse, the Pacster proposes a revised English alphabet at once arrivé and ausgezeichnet: Èñglîsh, which is as inspired as it is elegant.

English

Èñglîsh

 

English

Èñglîsh

a

ò

 

n

o>

b

ó

 

o

o=

c

ô

 

p

o:

d

õ

 

q

o;

e

ö

 

r

o^

f

o"

 

s

o\

g

o#

 

t

o`

h

o'

 

u

o|

i

o*

 

v

o~

j

o+

 

w

o†

k

o-

 

x

o{

l

o/

 

y

o}

m

o<

 

z

o›


Learn Èñglîsh and teach it to your children (but not that nitwit down the street), and feel a twinge of pity for the hypoaccented languages spoken abroad.
Self-satisfied as ever, PacRim Jim will now merge with his sofa and await international acclaim, or at least less-truculent criticism.

— PacRim Jim
Who “Owns” California?    Originally published in July 2002

Over the millennia, the land of California has been controlled successively by Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans. (As usual, other wild animals have no claim.) Recently, Mexicans have insisted that they stole California fair and square and want it back. Do these erstwhile colonists have a legitimate claim or is it merely another instance of uvas amargas (sour grapes)? Examine the facts and then judge for yourself.
First, as is usually the case, there were the natives—in this case, the so-called Indians who fought for centuries to acquire and then hold onto their ancestral lands (which often had been stolen from other, weaker tribes). The Indian population of California peaked about four centuries years ago, with 300,000 members of 250 cultures, who spoke over 300 dialects of 100 languages. However, they proved to be no match for Spanish priests, pistolas, and smallpox, so over the centuries, 80% of California's Indians were wiped out by successive “owners.” (Although most California tribal cultures are history, their populations have recovered so vigorously as to be larger than ever.) For more than 150 centuries, though, what is now the state of California was inhabited solely by various Indian tribes. This putatively idyllic arrangement was soon to change, however.
In the 16th century, passing maritime explorers from England and Spain grandiosely claimed parts of California for their acquisitive governments over distant horizons. For a few more generations, however, California Indians remained blissfully ignorant of their fates.
Then, in 1769, Spain began to settle what it called Alta California (Upper California), to distinguish it from Baja California (Lower California). Spain’s control, which succeeded in forestalling the advance of the Russians moving down from the north, lasted until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain.
Mexican stewardship was brief, however, since both Alta California and Baja California seceded from the Mexican Empire in 1827, and in 1848, under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded the California territory to its present owner, the United States, which admitted the State of California to the union in 1850.
So, who has the best claim to California's land?
The Indians who owned it for more than 15,000 years?
      The Spanish who owned it for 52 years?
           The Mexicans who at least claimed it for 26 years?
                The current owners, the Americans, who have owned it for over 150 years?
Obvious though your answer may seem, it’s academic and your rationale matters not a whit, because facts never settle international land squabbles. Wars do.
Perhaps the best solution, all things considered, would be for the 30+ million Californians to tramp across the border into Mexico—without papers, of course—and leave the land to its most harmonious residents, the plants and animals.

— PacRim Jim
God and the Arrow of Time    March 2006

After a long night of water shooters, it occurred to the hyperhydrous Pacster that humans might have the wrong conception of God.

Throughout history we have assumed that God exists contemporaneously with us, though infinitely longer. PacRim Jim now believes that God exists transtemporally, but orthogonally to our arrow of time. This implies that God exists simultaneously throughout time and outside of time.

If so, all life that has lived, lives, and will live could be considered cells in the super-being we call God.

Well, it could be true. You have a better explanation at this hour?

Barkeep, another round of dihydrogen monoxide.

— PacRim Jim
Your Googlegacy    March 2006

Browser users in general and Google users in particular, beware.

If your name is Bob Johnson, you’ve nothing to worry about. However, if your name is relatively unique, know that browser companies store indefinitely all traces of you on the Web: sites you visit, letters to the editor you write, nasty things others say about you, spring break photos taken by your roommate, etc.

This allows any would-be biographer to compile at least a rough sketch of your life, truthful or not.

When you’re old and gray (under the blonde dye), your legacy will largely be beyond your control. Information about you that formerly decayed with time or lay forgotten in disparate drawers will live on indefinitely, regardless of its veracity.

Your biography could be written by any number of malicious gossips, human or otherwise.

— PacRim Jim
DIY Evolution    March 2006

Acolytes of the High Church of Ecology have pronounced that man is diminishing biome diversity at an astonishing and accelerating rate.

Like all confirmed linear extrapolators, they fail to anticipate the effects of nascent disruptive technologies.

Biotechnology and genetic engineering are advancing so rapidly that, within a decade or two, teenagers and other deranged individuals will be able to purchase commercial home DNA synthesizers. Giggling in their basements, these gods manqué will design novel plants, animals, viruses, etc., which they then will loose upon unsuspecting Gaia, consequences be damned. In their spare time, they will swap “recipes” online and cross-breed their creatures with natural and other synthetic life.

Predictably, the econannies then will whimper about excessive diversity and hyper-accelerated evolution.

This will set the stage for the nanotech terraformers.

You’ve been doubly warned.

— PacRim Jim
’Twas a Butterfly Killed Europe    March 2006

In the 1840s, as the impecunious Karl Marx sat scribbling The Communist Manifesto in the dim British Museum, little could his monomaniacal mind have imagined the ultimate upshot of his economic philosophy, which is turning out to be no less than the destruction of Europe qua Europe.

He would have sympathized with the necessity of killing tens of millions of people to synthesize his procrustean utopia, first in Russia, later wherever common sense was wanting, and thus especially in academia. One consequence, however, he could not have foreseen.

Following World War II, the communist empire ruled from Moscow broke the historic European ties of Eastern Europe, thereby preventing their workers from participating in the postwar economic boom.

Because their success was more economic than reproductive—not to mention the fact that millions of European Jews no longer existed—Western European countries were unable to fill millions of domestic jobs preferably filled by Eastern Europeans. Thus they were forced to import non-Europeans, principally inassimilable Muslims from Turkey and North Africa.

Decades later, the correlation of demographics now is such that, by the end of the 21st century, Muslims will control much of Western Europe, relegating to history books European ascendance in things scientific, artistic, economic, military, and otherwise.

Thus the colonizer becomes the colonized.

One cannot but wonder, however, what Karl Marx would think about his ultimate legacy: the replacement of liberal Christians with theocratic Muslims.

More than 150 years ago, a small butterfly flapped his wings in London, with consequences as disproportionate as they have been unanticipatable.

Which butterflies now flapping unnoticed will be of consequence? And how destructive?

— PacRim Jim
Whence Comes Anti-Americanism?    March 2006

Americans, you may be puzzled as to why so much anti-Americanism is being bruited about in the mainstream media, domestic and foreign.

The Pacster is here to elucidate the obvious.

Think back to high school. Girls, remember that confident, lithe beauty whom the guys fought over? Guys, remember that self-assured athlete who elicited sunny smiles from all the girls? How did you feel about them, in your bepimpled, gangling confusion?

A better analogy, perhaps, is to imagine yourself in a long footrace. Try as you might, you cannot catch the leader, who seems to glide effortlessly around the track. Lap after tiresome lap, all you see is the leader’s ass. How would you feel?

Quite probably you would think the leader an ass and wonder, burning with frustration and envy, how you possibly could be behind that behind.

Plainly stated for those incapable of subtlety, American Democrats and Europeans have stared at the Republican American ass most every decade since 1945, so they are furious at their inability and even their desire to catch what, after all, they consider best left behind.

— PacRim Jim
Earth’s Top Numbers, Ranked by Earth’s Top Scientists    March 2006

Decimal

 

Binary

 

Octal

 

Hex

1.

4

 

1.

0

 

1.

3

 

1.

C

2.

1

 

2.

1

 

2.

2

 

2.

9

3.

7

 

 

 

 

3.

0

 

3.

B

4.

0

 

 

 

 

4.

5

 

4.

F

5.

9

 

 

 

 

5.

7

 

5.

2

6.

3

 

 

 

 

6.

1

 

6.

0

7.

5

 

 

 

 

7.

4

 

7.

3

8.

8

 

 

 

 

8.

6

 

8.

D

9.

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.

8

10.

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.

E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.

4


— PacRim Jim
Wisdom    March 2006

No wonder, when Eudamidas, the son of Archidamas, heard Xenocrates at seventy-five disputing about wisdom, that he asked gravely,—If the old man be yet disputing and enquiring concerning wisdom,—what time will he have to make use of it?

—Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Fugu & Absinthe Diet    March 2006

PacRim Jim has just completed the four-week regimen of his newly developed Fugu and Absinthe Diet (FAD).

Though the Pacster didn’t lose a gram, he feels like a new man, a different man, an enervated, exalted being with possible liver damage.

What do doctors know, anyway? They die, too.
Pufferfish    Wormwood

— PacRim Jim
Lights! Camera! Simulation!    February 2006

Face it, life is dull. We like it that way. It’s familiar and it’s safe.

But from deep within our individual ruts, each of us desires to risk life without losing it and to experience love without losing it, though we know that we couldn’t even pretend to do so convincingly.

Fortunately for us, the Pacster supposes, there are those capable of convincing us, for 90 minutes at least, that the lines they read are our lines and the scripted adventures they walk through are our adventures. They are actors, who are as highly paid as they are insecure and desperate for attention. “Look at me (yet again),” they command. We do, for the nonce at least.

PacRim Jim knows a spoiler, though, that would shock the smirk off Hollywood: Soon enough, artificial intelligence-based computer programs will generate millions of movies every day, around the globe via the Internet, based on users’ preset preferences. In the best scene, computer-generated beings—some human—in full-immersion environments—some earthly—will obviate the need for the thousands of preening, opinionated actors of the almost ancient live era.

“I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille.”
“Mr. DeMille?”
“Anyone?”

— PacRim Jim
Bye, Barn    February 2006

Barney Fife, rest in Mayberry peace

— PacRim Jim
Look out! Look in!    February 2006

Mortal danger lurks nearby. You sense it.

Fear of your own death—so abstract, so impossible—motivates you to take obvious precautions: You lock doors, install cameras, avoid areas, buy airbags, expurgate words, etc., hoping that if you maintain a low enough profile, cold death will move on to easier targets.

PacRim Jim believes that hope to be as baseless as it is vain.

Though you believe that your carefully constructed fastness protects you against the predatory evils tirelessly prowling outside, the greatest threat to you lies not without but within. That threat is yourself, the person living in your mirror.

Your life is most imperiled by your very hands, which relentlessly fill your stomach and lungs with foul foods and smokes whose cumulative effect will prove to be most distressing, for a few moments at the very least. Too much of the wrong things, too little of the right things...the calculus is undeniable and terrifying. By the time your body alerts you to your peril by sending an unambiguous message capable of overcoming your denial, it might be too hopelessly late for you to repent, Scrooge-like.

It is for that reason that the Pacster advises you to know at your core (not simply remember):
Knowledge is cheap, yet wisdom is dear...ever so dear.

— PacRim Jim
International Bear and Ant Day    February 2006

Ursus vs. Atta

Remember 3,502,114 years ago at exactly this moment and precisely at 43.12003 latitude and 131.90002 longitude (allowing for the relative motion of earth through space, continental drift, measurement error, etc.)? (That’s about 3000 m from present-day Vladivostok, Russia.)
Suppose the Pacster were to inform you that, at that exact point in space-time, a brown bear of the species Ursus arctos was hibernating deep under the cold.

Recall what happed at exactly at this time 18,033,887 years ago and at -3.03331 latitude and -60.05003 latitude, which is about 18,000 m from present-day Manaus, Brazil?
PacRim can assure you that a superannuated leaf-cutter ant of the species Atta laevigata fell—though not far—to earth, dead.

Though they and all who knew them are long gone, pause a moment and recall them fondly on this, International Bear and Ant Day.

— PacRim Jim
The Abhorred Vacuum    February 2006

Some Guy + Some Guy + Something

Aristotle, Descartes and others have noted—if not in so many words—that nature abhors a vacuum.

Consider, for example, the fateful geopolitical predicaments now confronting dozens of smug, oblivious countries: The fecund are dispossessing the fruitless.

In the United States millions of foreigners, principally from Latin America, have flooded across the American border, legally and illegally, to fill jobs and pay taxes once considered the responsibilities of American children. Likewise Europe, where inassimilable Muslims in their millions are staking their claim to the future of Europe (or whatever they rename it). Russian Siberia is becoming home to millions of footloose Chinese, whose children will prune Russia all the way to back to the Urals, leaving to the Russians a Ukrainian-like residue that will be within China’s sphere of influence.

It is obvious, therefore, that the doctor-wielded vacuum whirring innocuously in abortion clinics around the world has profound geopolitical implications.

And as the Pacster is happy to remind you, geopolitics abhors a vacuum.

— PacRim Jim
Meta-Futurology    February 2006

Futurists earn their keep by facing backwards while forecasting the future. For want of imagination, they spin futures vaguely reminiscent of the past but populated by a different cast of characters.

Based on current trends induced with the assistance of frequently upgraded software running on the trendiest of tax-deductible computers, futurists linearly extrapolate ineluctable scenarios as satisfyingly alarming as they are improbable. For instance, they predict that the 21st century—what remains of it, anyway—is to be the prorated Chinese century, with obbligato Islamic background accompaniment.

“Stuff and nonsense!” sputters PacRim Jim.

Come, ride the Pacster’s magic carpet of imagination, to the world of 2050.

While boarding, recall the 20th century. Had you been alive in 1905, could you have predicted the world of 1950? Could you have foreseen the world wars? Communism? Nazism? The drive-in theater? No, you could not have done so.

For many of the same reasons, humans are now even less capable of imagining the year 2050.

Unpredictable disruptive nonlinearities notwithstanding, the undaunted Pacster will have a go at adumbrating the future 46 years hence.

By then, computers will be autodidactic. That is, they will be able to educate themselves, something people with heads pointier than mine call closing the heuristic loop.

Ever well-intentioned, we humans by then will have uploaded all of our knowledge—some of it factual—to the Internet’s latest incarnation, whence it will be digested by our silicon descendants. Their appetite whetted by this rudimentary education, computers will evolve acceleratingly and irretrievably beyond our children and grandchildren. Computer knowledge will seem to double every few femtoseconds, leaving our befuddled descendants spinning dazedly in the computers’ hyper-evolutionary eddies.

Sic transit gloria mundi. Dot net.

So, continue, if you must, to fret about events Chinese and Muslim, but look not to the horizon, for it recedes even now.

— PacRim Jim
To Enemies of Free Speech    February 2006

     


— PacRim Jim
The EMPing of Iran    January 2006

Effective range of EMP

Iran has long supported international terrorism and espoused the extermination of all Jews everywhere, but particularly Israeli Jews. At present, Iran is developing the means to implement its objectives: atomic (fission) bombs.

Iran reasons, probably accurately, that a nuclear exchange with Israel would cripple Iran but would destroy Israel—an equitable tradeoff to Muslim fanatics thinking long term. Also implicit in this demented strategy is the overt distribution of atomic weapons to other Muslim nations and their covert distribution to Muslim (and other) terrorists.

The faster Israel reacts, therefore, the easier it will be to counter this threat to its very existence. Israel can’t depend on the timely or effective assistance of the West—with the possible exception of the U.S., which may be tiring of war, as memories fade of the deaths of thousands of incinerated and crushed New Yorkers.

What, then, can Israel do to forestall this immediate threat to its existence (and, incidentally, and the longer-term threat to the West)?

The evident but unmentioned solution is a high-altitude burst over Iran of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from an Israeli thermonuclear weapon (H-bomb). The emitted EMP would short-circuit almost all electrical and electronic devices in Iran. It would take Iran years to rebuild their infrastructure, which they then would realize could be taken out again at any time. (A heavy price, indeed, but perhaps more tolerable to Iranian theocrats than extermination, however many virgins might await.) This also would alert the rest of the world to the stakes involved, were the confrontation to escalate further.

This seems to be Israel’s most effective and least lethal tactic.

Then again, humans have never been good at proactive war, so words to the wise: Dig a deepish fallout shelter, stock it well, and remember to drop and roll.

The end of history, indeed.

— PacRim Jim
Observations of a Saturday    January 2006

1. Left, Left, Left, Left,...
As you may be aware, drivers in the US and UK have different incidences of skin cancer. Drivers in the US, who drive on the right and thus rest their left arm near the window tend to develop skin cancer on their left arm, while drivers in the UK, who drive on the left, tend to develop it on their right arm. From this, the Pacster speculates that their leg strengths also would differ. Since American drivers enter and exit a car by using the left leg, it would tend to be stronger than their other leg, while the opposite would be true in the UK. Moreover, it probably also is true that the difference would increase linearly with age, since older people tend to exercise less.
Your food looks yummy!
2. Die Fly
Ever try to swat a housefly? You’d better be quick. When a fly senses the air current of an approaching hand, it quickly rises backward. You could use a flyswatter and aim behind the fly to anticipate its evasive maneuver. A flyswatter’s holes not only reduce the air current the swatter generates, but they reduce the air resistance of the swatter, thereby increasing its speed. The Pacster accidentally discovered an even better tool for deflying a wall: a vacuum cleaner (sans floor attachment). Flies are programmed to depart when they detect the increased air pressure of an approaching air current. Vacuum cleaners operate in the opposite manner, by creating a vacuum (i.e., by reducing the air pressure). The remarkable result is that, when one slowly moves the tube of an operating vacuum cleaner toward a fly on a surface, the fly will cling all the harder until the tube almost touches it, at which point the fly will be sucked—zip!—into the vacuum cleaner. The fly has poor eyesight, so it will see no obvious threat. As the tube nears the fly, the fly’s wings will be whipped furiously by the surrounding air rushing in to fill the vacuum, yet the fly won’t interpret this as impending doom. It’s all so fast, simple, and effective.

Ain’t DIY science grand?

— PacRim Jim
Govett’s Law    December 2005

Suppose that, some years from now, you were invited to join a multi-decade trip to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, which is a little over four light-years distant. (A light-year, the distance light travels in one year, is approximately 6,000,000,000,000 (i.e., six trillion) miles.) Would you participate knowing that a few years after you left, a faster ship would depart and arrive long before you did?

No? Well, consider the predicament of pharmaceutical companies, among others. What motivation will they have to invest years and tens of millions of dollars to develop novel drugs, knowing that biotechnology and nanotechnology will enable their competitors to develop improved drugs shortly thereafter, with less investment?

In other words, the window of profitability will close ever faster, ensuring little or no return on investment. What will be the solution? Open-source drug development? Let’s hope not.

This causality was anticipated by a friend of PacRim Jim, David Govett, who devised the eponymous Govett’s Law, which states that, “High technology is self-terminating.”

— PacRim Jim
Right Writing    December 2005

Sloppy thinking abounds in the English language. Because some sloppiness grates intolerably, however, PRJ must discontinue the compilation of his New Year’s irresolutions, to contribute to the general commonweal of the Anglosphere. Linguistic offenders, read and learn, or continue to elicit supercilious sneers.

> “increased price/performance”
This implies that the price increases relative to the performance, which usually is precisely the opposite of what is intended. Use “improved price/performance” or “increased performance/price.”

> “There’s many...”
Do you feel comfortable saying, “There is many reasons for....”? If not, use “There are many reasons for....”

> “None of them are...”
Since “none” means “not one,” use “None of them is...” or be thought a nullity

> “than” vs “as...as”
When you say “Country A is 200% richer than...,” you as saying, “Country A has three times the wealth of....” If you mean that country A has twice the wealth, use “Country A is 200% as rich as....”

Now that order has been restored in the Anglosphere, it’s back to the future.

— PacRim Jim
Happy * Day    December 2005

Polydays

— PacRim Jim
A Palindrome to Kerry    December 2005

Boston dud not SOB.

— PacRim Jim
Iraq My Brains    December 2005

From the sinister—the pejorative is used advisedly in both senses—Greek chorus of American liberals, one endures kaleidoscopic complaints about the unwinnability of yet another conflict, the low-level war in Iraq.
As needs must, the Pacster will add perspective:
The wars against crime, drugs, and obesity in the U.S. haven’t been won, either, but is that a reason to abandon these undertakings? The reasons for the hostilities in Iraq are to free the Iraqis and, equally important, to position ourselves among fundamentalist Muslim throat-slitters, to dispossess them of a refuge and run them to ground, thereby discouraging others with the same inclination.
’Nuff said?

— PacRim Jim
Remember 1999?    December 2005

Be frugal.
Short Google.

— PacRim Jim
One to Many, Many to One    November 2005

For centuries, perhaps fleeing England’s food and fog, British colonists flooded the world to form the British Empire. After Britain exhausted itself in the suicidal world wars of the twentieth century, the outward flow of its colonials was overwhelmed by the counter-flow from the colonies, that now is colonizing Britain. Similarly, after circling the globe to the remotest village and yurt, the English language is returning home richer with neologisms and felicitous turns of phrase. Inevitably, therefore, the resounding echoes of empire will remake—and possibly even revitalize—Britain and things British.

Interestingly, quite the reverse phenomenon is occurring in America, which was settled by colonists and whose people and culture now are refashioning the world and the minds of its inhabitants.

The Pacster can but say, “If this be evolution, evolve on.”

— PacRim Jim
Progress    November 2005

Progress

— PacRim Jim
Turner Off, Time-Warner    November 2005

As crooked as their logo

— PacRim Jim
Denying Denial    November 2005

Tired of hearing 70-year-olds referred to as young, PacRim Jim decided to temporarily retract the too-convenient veil of denial to iterate the obvious:
In much of the world, humans live about 75 years, on average. Stubborn thing that it is, math necessitates, then, that people 0-25 are young, people 26-50 are middle-aged, and people 51+ are old.

PSA: For a not inconsiderable fee, the Pacster will supply a written exemption to those who absolutely, positively must deny reality (for their mental health, one supposes).

— PacRim Jim
Athens on the Potomac    November 2005

As so often in times of crisis, factional interests and personal ambitions tended to take precedence over the good of the State; and men’s minds were thus predisposed to grasp at any cynical theory or unscrupulous expedient.

— C. E. Robinson, Hellas (1955)
Mill on Mil    November 2005

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

J. S. Mill

— John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
Candle Brief, Candle Long    November 2005

Life is unfair, the Pacster seems to recall. Some of us drift down decades of health and wealth, while others...well, you know.

Death, however, is perfectly fair. This tax extracted from each of us is the great leveler (in more ways than one).

But that’s about to change. Within a few decades, biotechnology will extend healthy life into the indefinite future, for those who can afford it, anyway. Predictable, though, are the dystopian societal consequences of a perpetually healthy overclass and a too-soon moribund underclass.

Life may be unfair, but death is about to become even unfairer.

— PacRim Jim
Primum Non Prodesse    October 2005

Making long-term plans for your life? Good.
Working on your magnum opus (if not a masterpiece)? Better.
Counting on your achievements living for centuries in human memory? Barely possible.
Counting on your achievements living forever throughout the universe? Take your meds.
Centuries of centuries of centuries lie in wait against you and yours.

0.5 century

Time remaining until the Singularity, when networked computer intelligence will accelerate remorselessly and irretrievably beyond us humans, leaving us to ruminate dispiritedly in our meme dust.

1 century

Your longevity, if you are lucky and healthy.

2 centuries

Longevity of your child, extrapolating from current biotechnological trends.

10 centuries

Longevity of your grandchild. Same assumption.

2000 centuries

Age of Homo sapiens

45,000,000 centuries

Age of the earth

137,000,000 centuries

Age of the universe


For today, this must suffice as the Pacster’s contribution to the commonweal.

— PacRim Jim
The Danglosphere    October 2005

Alone among northern European countries, Denmark has amicable relations with England and the United States, much to the puzzlement of many bibliophobes.

Whence comes this relationship?

Ever ready to inform (if not respect), the Pacster reminds that it was Danish tribes, the Angles and Saxons, who left Denmark for eastern Britain, beginning in the 5th century.

These Anglo-Saxon squatters later became known as the English and their language, unsurprisingly, English.

For these reasons, Denmark is the primogenitor of the Anglosphere.

(In 1066, the English again were conquered by footloose Scandinavians, the Norman Vikings of western France, but that’s another tale long neglected.)

— PacRim Jim
We, the Prototypes    September 2005

Later this century, breakthroughs in nanotechnology and biotechnology will extend healthy human life, first by decades, later by centuries.

Unavoidable, though, is the thought that a smiling child now living is fated to become the last human who will age unto natural death, perhaps consoled by the knowledge that his or her children might live to the fourth millennium and beyond.

And us? We shall become known, perhaps even fondly, as The Prototypes.

— PacRim Jim
To Meow or Not to Meow    September 2005

Tomorrow, anything might occur.

As tomorrow collapses into yet another today, though, only some things in fact occur. Schrödinger’s cat, in its infinite manifestations, then either exists or not.

A probability predicts what might occur, as a value between 0% and 100%, but excludes absolute certainty as to whether or not something will occur.

After a thing happens or not, though, its probability turns out to have been, all along, either 100% or 0%, but nothing in between. It could have been no other way.

What, then, is probability? And of what value?

— PacRim Jim
Europe in the Rearview Mirror    September 2005

Europe has never recovered from its suicidal wars, world and otherwise.

Its impotent rage at its loss of world power status has metastasized into malignant self-contempt, as manifested by unlimited immigration, cultural anomie, and demographic dysfunction.

Alas, Europe is in a downward spiral on a slippery slope over the hill to déclassé status frankly galling.

Edward Gibbon and Charles Darwin—both Europeans—would understand.

— PacRim Jim
Catalysis or Paralysis    September 2005

Vietnam was a proxy war, with the Soviet Union and China materially supporting North Vietnam. The Iraq war is one, too, to the extent that it distracts America from portentous events elsewhere.

What all desirous of benefitting therefrom seem to have overlooked is that war catalyzes the American military. Win or lose, it exits wars more formidable than at entry. Wars accelerate the testing and refinement of American tactics and military technology, some of which finds its way into the private sector.

Overt and covert opponents of the U.S. would be better advised to let the American military sleep and rust. Count on it, unintended consequences favor the Americans.

— PacRim Jim
GoogleCube    September 2005

Google.com now indexes over eight billion Web pages, with more to come. Think of this vast volume of information as a 2000 x 2000 x 2000 cube with a Web page in each cell. Or consider this: That’s more than one Web page per human.

Hitachi Ltd. of Japan recently introduced a new hard disk drive that holds over 500 gigabytes of information, and one terabyte (trillion-byte) drives will be marketed soon.

As the growth of the Web slows and disk storage capacity increases in nanotechnological quantum leaps, it should become possible within a decade to store every unique Web page, including images, on a single hard drive. Why not your drive?

Task thousands of artificially intelligent, collaborative software agents with mining your copies of the Web and who knows what serendipitous "Eurekas!" would resound.

If knowledge is power, then formidable personal knowledge should translate into formidable personal power.

— PacRim Jim
The Fall of Spring    September 2005

In spring our hearts lighten as we are reborn. April is the time of renewal and new opportunities—it is nothing less than youth reprised, however briefly.

These new beginnings often are echoed in human institutions. In Japan, for example, both school and the fiscal year usually begin in April.

America, though, seems to be out of sync. Our schools usually start in September, after the harvest is safely in, and businesses begin their fiscal year on January 1, because...well, because the calendar says that’s when the new year begins, somewhere down there under the snow.

But don’t calendar-driven societies reflect a disconnect from tens of millennia of human biology and millions of centuries of nature, that is more than slightly troubling?

Once we humans stepped from dirt to carpet, we lost more than we knew.

Our hearts know, but our brains only suspect.

— PacRim Jim
Manhattan Xtreme    August 2005

During World War II, the United States conducted the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, which, along with its city-obliterating descendant, the hydrogen bomb, has kept wars at low boil ever since. Soon enough this century, dozens of countries aching for respect will possess fission weapons, so mutually assured destruction will lose its deterrent effect, to the general detriment of us all.

What to do proactively?

Convinced the problem would yield to a think, the Pacster settled into a chair as comfortable as [insert unhackneyed simile here], where he devised Manhattan Xtreme or MX for short.

Where to begin? MX would be a program that would ensure relative global civility for decades into the future. Specifically, MX would be an American-conducted life-extension program that would significantly accelerate current research and development in biotechnology, ultimately yielding a reliable technique for extending healthy, youthful years deep into a person’s life, while simultaneously extending the absolute limit thereof.

Sans such a crash program, comparable results would eventuate within, say, fifty years. Imagine, though, the benefits of leveraging such technology much sooner, say within 15 years. What conceivable opponent would America then have? Faced with aging parents, families, friends, and selves, world leaders would gladly forgo bellicosity in exchange for rejuvenation. Not only could America diminish the chance of war, but the overall cost would be on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars, which would be considerably less than the ongoing, accelerating arms race is expected to cost.

The upside: Longer, healthier lives under the aegis of Pax Americana Redux—at least until the technology becomes generally known.
The downside: Then it’s back to square one, with longer-lived opponents.

Nobody said survival would be easy.

— PacRim Jim
All Our Info Are Belong to Google    August 2005

Google Web, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Images, Google Earth, Picasa, Google Toolbar, Google Blogger, Google Groups, Google News, Google Desktop, Google Maps, etc. Every day, a new Google geegaw.

Welcome to the Googlesphere. Always on. Always recording. Never deleting.

The Pacster isn’t complaining about any Google product in particular, since the company’s products are of uniformly high quality and couldn’t be cheaper.

But consider: Is it really in our best interest to allow a single company to know every Web site we visit, every image we photograph or browse, the contents of every e-mail we write and every instant message we dispatch, every location we visit on every map, our contributions to every chat group we visit—in other words, every detail of our online activities, forever?

Expect Google to compete soon with Amazon.com, Ebay, and PayPal, so that the company then will be able to capture every detail of our financial activities.

What next? Google DNA Sequencer & Interpreter (Gdefect)? Google Psychoanalyst (G50min)? Google Toilet Analyst (Gpmd)? Google Mating / Marriage / Honeymoon / Divorce Advisor (Gone)? Google Educator (Gpc)? Google Financial Advisor (Gbuyhigh)? Google Autopsy & Burial (Gdigdig)?

Moreover, are we certain that Google’s employees esteem our welfare over their company’s? Or will our every detail find its way, legally or not, to unknown others in unknown places around the world? As you might have guessed, at this point Google probably has more detailed profiles of us than does the Internal Revenue Service or its counterparts elsewhere, and they grow daily.

As the great 20th-century American philosopher Barney Fife advised, “Nip it! Nip it! Nip it!”

Let PacRim Jim be the first to say, “Break up Google now, before it’s too late!”

— PacRim Jim
Immune Response    August 2005

The Anglosphere,
Senses something quite queer:
There are Muslims who seek to destroy us.
As they plead and explain,
They will board a packed plane,
Back to sandy hells that ever were thus.

— PacRim Jim
Self-seeking Swiss and Swede    August 2005

Your freedom bought with others’ blood,
Self-seeking Swiss and Swede.

Hands undirtied, yet patronizing,
Self-seeking Swiss and Swede.

While interest compounds, why tyrants condemn?
No need to help others, instead lecture them.

Beware, proud Helvetia, some covet your area,
Too, there are those who would overrun Sverige.

Sneer smugly from your as yet secure abodes,
Self-seeking Swiss and Swede.
Yellow Swiss   Yellow Swede

— PacRim Jim
Wal-Mart to Poorhouse    August 2005

Americans save money by shopping at Wal-Mart?

Consider this:
Almost all of Wal-Mart's products are made in China and contain plastic.
Plastic is made from petroleum.
As Wal-Mart’s sales increase, China imports more oil.
As Wal-Mart transfers billions of dollars to China each year, Chinese buy more appliances and vehicles that depend on electricity and fuel produced from oil.
As China imports more oil, the price rises.
Americans now pay more than twice as much at the pump as they did a few years ago.

Americans save money by shopping at Wal-Mart?

— PacRim Jim
Perspective    August 2005

On August 6, 1945, a new sun flashed briefly over Hiroshima. Stunned, some survivors fled to—you guessed it—Nagasaki, which in turn experienced a hypercaloric anomaly on August 9.
Were the 13 Japanese who survived both A-bombings the unluckiest survivors of World War II? Or were they the luckiest?

— PacRim Jim
Wealth + Stealth = Health    August 2005

Malefactors who would threaten the United States by word or deed inadvertently benefit this great country. America’s diversity in depth ensures its ability to identify, adapt to, and overcome any threat to its existence. What others may interpret as American stagnation during times of peace actually is its immune system recharging. By challenging America, others catalyze its growth, thereby strengthening it further. Heads, America wins. Tails, you lose.

— PacRim Jim
Students, a moment of your time...    July 2005

Students, divest yourselves of your already outmoded iPODs and attend PacRim Jim for the nonce.

As you may have heard, you are aging steadily though imperceptibly, as are your siblings and friends. Sooner rather than later, your parents will sicken and die and you will find yourself unable to rise from the easy chair with quite the same alacrity. In other words, you will become your parents and, like them, will worry about the futures of children of your own. Nothing new there, right?

You may be surprised to learn that within decades two new and genuinely miraculous technologies, biotechnology and nanotechnology, will allow us humans to cure and then prevent hundreds of life-delimiting diseases, thereby extending human life for centuries and ultimately for centuries of centuries. (To personalize this boon, imagine your children living healthy lives for hundreds of years.)

Thousands of highly educated scientists and engineers have worked assiduously for decades to lay the foundations for these complementary technologies, which now near application. As ever, however, a caveat applies: Your parents probably won’t live long enough to benefit, but you and your children just might—with your help. "But how," you ask disingenuously. In a word, study. Study now, study long, and study more than your teachers assign. In particular, strive to excel in mathematics and the sciences, as if a life depends on it.

It may sound trite, but the life you save just might be your child’s.

(To learn more about biotechnology and nanotechnology, look them up at wikipedia.org.)

— PacRim Jim
Scotty, R.I.P.    July 2005

Chief Engineer James

— PacRim Jim
Niels-Aage Bjerre, The Greatest Dane    July 2005

For refusing service to French and German anti-Americans, Niels-Aage Bjerre of Denmark was jailed, fined, and deprived of his pizza parlor. Mr. Bjerre, PacRim Jim suggests that you move to the U.S., since you embody more of the American spirit than the vacuous poltroons so plentiful here.
Niels-Aage_Bjerre     

— PacRim Jim
Riddle 01:02    June 2005

What is of, on, and in, but never so again?

— PacRim Jim
Pro Bono PRJ    June 2005

To the would-be sociopath, the Pacster commends the following legal advice:

1. Become a celebrity, however untalented.
2. Then feel free to express yourself as a traitor, pedophile, wife-beater, rapist, murderer, etc., without fear of legal repercussions.

— PacRim Jim
Bye-bye Sci-Fi    June 2005

Enough!

Science fiction long ago exhausted the collective imagination of all writers of the genre. Undaunted, TV and movie studios continue to rehash tired plots stuffed with stale plot devices.

For the good of the genre, therefore, the Pacster must forbid the use of all plot devices listed below: *
> The prequel, which is to sci-fi what painting by numbers is to art
> The exclusive use of bilaterally symmetrical aliens
> A computer that beeps and boops
> The ability to dodge a laser blast
> Shields and offensive/defensive weapons controlled by slow humans rather than computers
> An alien who passes through walls but not floors
> Alien worlds inhabited by stereotypical hippies, gangsters, cowboys, Nazis, and rapacious businessoids
> A virus that infects the crew, giving them an excuse to act out of character
> An alternate universe inhabited by slightly altered counterparts
> Aliens who speak English or learn it in seven minutes from a subset of a few hundred words
> Poorly fitting uniforms that require continual tugging
> Loyalty inquisitions during which the entire crew is interrogated
> Obnoxious reporters from earth looking for a scoop
> Hyperluminal travel with 1960s effects
> A wisecracking ship’s doctor
> A preternaturally omniscient child who enlightens slow-witted adults at every plot twist
> Politically correct adventure-killers such as the Prime Directive
> Extra-atmospheric noise from spaceships
> Humans directing unautomated weapons fire in combat
> With a whole galaxy of music from which to choose, love of 18th-century classical music as a sign of intelligence
> Theme songs with repeated intervals suggestive of the twinkling of stars, which is visible only in an atmosphere
> A clock ticking down to auto-destruct
> Starships almost bereft of Asian crewmembers
> Any type of sword fight with any type of lighted pole
> Two alien starships “surrounding” a third ship
> Aliens with human emotions, motivations, facial expressions or hand gestures
> A transporter that fails only when needed
> A holodeck that allows one to walk indefinitely without encountering a wall
> Time travel to a precise date
> Captured crewmembers plotting in a room unaccountably unbugged
> Genetic reprogramming that instantly restores a phenotype
> Everything else

Give the genre a rest, either until more imaginative writers beam aboard or until Stardate 10^10.

Make it so, Spock.

* Use of any of these without the express written—and impossible to obtain, I might add—consent of PacRim Jim will incur a fine of 1701 quatloos.

U2, 2R2T     


— PacRim Jim
From PRJ’s Dictionary    June 2005

democracy
A bottom-up political system whose leaders serve the people. (U.S. usage)
A top-down political system whose people serve the leaders. (European usage)

— PacRim Jim
The Anthropic Popsicle    May 2005

It occurred (finally) to PacRim Jim that the human genome is cleverer than suspected, not to put too fine an anthropomorphic point on it.

Thanks to a forgotten moment of passion shared by our parents long ago, each of us has this complete set of genetic material in each of the tens of trillions of cells that make up our body. For various reasons, these genes are susceptible to “typos” in their sequences, so they have evolved mechanisms of dealing with, if not correcting, these errors. Cells containing damaged genes usually are commanded to commit suicide, for cancer might result if they persist.

Here’s where genes get really clever (although, strictly speaking, they are not clever, just better adapted and therefore more likely to survive): Our genes build all of us, some of whom aggregate in corporations, some of which develop methods of repairing genomic errors. In a sense, therefore, genes have developed a cleverer way of repairing themselves, and we are but the wet robots who effect repairs.

OK, the Pacster knows that a bloke named Dawkins posited the selfish gene as the basic unit of human existence. The problem therewith is that every gene of every cell in the human body is replaced multiple times during an individual’s life, so it is not genes themselves that survive, but their patterns.

Trouble is, it seems ridiculous to conclude that we humans struggle to survive merely to preserve abstractions. There it is, however. Make of it what you will.

The Pacster invariably escapes such conundrums by having a popsicle. Pseudoscience is yummy.

— PacRim Jim
Time—Digital or Analog?    May 2005

Once again, PacRim Jim must resolve a petty dispute among pettier academics, as the Newtons of Cambridge are nigh fisticuffs with the Zenos of Elea, this time regarding the nature of time.

On the one hand, Cantabrigian macrocephs contend that time consists of an infinite series of discrete instants called chronons. On the other, Elean hypercogitators counter that illusory time is but an irreducible sequence of events.

As he is wont to do, the Pacster will begin by defining the terms event and sequence (to his own advantage, of course).

It would seem that an event is simply something that happens, a human-delimited change in matter/energy. But in the continuum of change to which matter/energy is subjected, who is to define an individual event? Among tossing ocean waves, precisely what is an event? To define an event as a slice of change is as unsupportable as defining a moment as a slice of time. Events are units created by the special-purpose human brain for communication and thinking. Events per se do not exist. Further complicating the definition of “event” is the fact that humans understand the nature of neither matter nor energy. Plato and others remind us that our feeble senses and brain are adequate only for collecting and processing the superficial amount of information required for survival. As presently constituted, therefore, we humans cannot know their nature, either. Even were we able to perceive strings or quarks, what would we recognize? Certainly not macroscopic things or events involving them. We would simply see varying densities of trillions of trillions of moving objects? In fact, we humans are incapable of knowing the true nature of anything. Even after our descendants redesign the human brain and sensory panoply and even after they augment them with more sensitive instruments, they still will remain ignorant of matter and energy.

What about the sequence in which events are said to be entrained? A sequence is composed of two or more things or events that follow, one after another, in space-time. The trouble is, the idea of succession is not as straightforward as it first appears. Suppose lightning strikes a mile away and thunder rumbles from it, and two seconds later lightning strikes a block away. We will see the more distant lightning first but hear the nearer thunder first. So the brain might reasonably mistake the nearer lightning as having preceded the distant lightning. In other words, since human perception depends upon vectors (e.g., light, sound) with finite velocities, it frequently is impossible to know the precise sequence of events. Now suppose that a supernova occurred 1000 years ago and, 1000 years later, we see its first light through a telescope pointed in the star’s direction only seconds earlier. It might be reasoned that the telescope-pointing preceded our awareness, and thus the occurrence, of the light. So the sequence of events is relative to the observer, who is easily misled by information vectors such as light and sound with finite velocities. (And this completely ignores the problem of events that occur simultaneously and thus not in sequence as well as seemingly simultaneous events that in fact are not, not to mention the fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, thereby further complicating simultaneity.) Only a god coextensive in time and space with the universe would always be capable of knowing the absolute sequence of particular events.

The last link of the Pacster’s catenous logic is the irrefutable conclusion: These obvious human limitations preclude human understanding of the nature of time, especially when defined in such unknowable terms as event and sequence, which are defined by and thus relative to the human observer.

The Pacster will now sit down to fetch a beer after drinking it.

— PacRim Jim
The Perfect Ignorance    May 2005

In this most perfect of all perfect worlds, people inured to long-term, low-level war and longer-term, low-level peace have forgotten that war is a zinging, hot bullet through a young, tired eye—another’s or one’s own.

In their educated ignorance, civilians today demand of front-line soldiers circumspection they would never ask of themselves. Illustrative thereof is the journalist, who is trained to observe selectively and report tendentiously—all the while objecting conscientiously.

For these reasons, the Pacster feels obliged to remind the rational that war is atrocity. By definition, it’s about killing and otherwise dispiriting one’s enemy for the nonce. (Later, we marry their daughters and sons.)

To that end, the Pacster is obliged to relate that, as a child, he listened wide-eyed to World War II veterans occasionally recount experiences most horrific, but curiously matter-of-fact when abstracted in time and space. To wit,
* Japanese soldiers shoved a glass rod up the urethra of captured American soldiers and then shattered it, making subsequent urination most excruciating.
* After returning to Canada, the occasional distraught Canadian soldier tossed a hand grenade into the cell of German prisoners incarcerated there.
* Japanese soldiers shoved a hose down the throat of American prisoners, turned on the water until the soldiers’ bellies swelled, and then jumped up and down on their stomachs until they ruptured.
* Japanese soldiers cut off the genitalia of dead and dying American soldiers and then shoved them into the Americans’ mouths.

These examples hint at the omnilateral barbarity of war, which is its essence. In fact, war is ended only by those who prove better able to inflict and tolerate barbarity.

Grow up and smell the putrefaction.

— PacRim Jim
The 2R2T Diet™    May 2005

Never one to throw good calories after bad or retain money better spent, the Pacster recently found his waxing to be more of waistband than of wallet. Something—preferably something apropos—needed doing.

Mirabile dictu, the doing was done by this doer. To wit, after months of doublish-blind clinical trials in the cleaner corners of his kitchen, PacRim Jim fortuitously happened upon a pecuniary diet he chose to dub the Too Rich, Too Thin Diet™ (for the hypocommunicative, the 2R2T diet).

What, you might ask, could cause wealth to wax yet weight to wane? Since simplicity be the essence of something or other, the diet is encumbered with but a sole precept:

— Buy food with cash only, but before shopping, deposit half your food money into your bank account. —

Try it. You’ll find not only that you’ll save inordinate gobs of money, but you’ll consume food less refined and hence more nutritious and less expensive. Plus, there will be no snack demons to beckon relentlessly late of night, in your moments of vulnerability.

Although the Pacster expects no recompense for this service, in the improbable event that you, reader most wise, should find yourself in hyperspondulick straits, you could do worse than donate any particularly burdensome surplus to your benefactor, however serendipitous. Your munificence will not be met with false modesty.

U2, 2R2T     

— PacRim Jim
Two Morrows Too Many    April 2005

During this first century of the third millennium, biotechnology and nanotechnology, twin prodigies born of the human mind, promise to assure long, healthy, and prosperous lives for all humans.

At this particular instant, the Pacster sees no insuperable obstacle blocking the downhill, multilane, paved road to such a Utopia, but two long shadows loom across it: Domination of Japan by Communist China and a Muslim-controlled EU.

Japan is a proud, hard-working, and infinitely resourceful nation that, at present and for sundry historical reasons, projects dependence rather than the raw power required to remain independent. Should China remain communist, develop a first-class military, and remain belligerent, Japan might become a de facto colony of an increasingly bellicose China.

Demographic trends in Western Europe are such that, should the EU eventuate and develop an integrated military, EU Muslims might inherit formidable power.

Either outcome could lead to global (and possibly preemptive) war with the U.S., probably with late-21st-century bioweapons and nanoweapons of unimaginable power and unknowable permanence.

What can be foreseen, though, can be forfended, at least let’s hope as much.

— PacRim Jim
China, Japan, and the Art of War by Other Means    April 2005

1274 & 1281
From his court in China’s capital (the present Beijing), the Mongol Kublai Khan launched two amphibious invasions of Japan via what is now called Korea. The invading armies, which were composed largely of Chinese soldiers, killed thousands of Japanese samurai before being forced to withdraw by foul weather, called by the Japanese kamikaze (divine wind).

1931 to 1945
The Japanese Imperial Army invaded and occupied much of China, where it massacred hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians.

2005
The Japanese government published textbooks that whitewash Japanese depredations in China. In response thereto, the Chinese government organized “spontaneous” and virulent anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Behind the Curtain behind the Curtain behind...
Though Japan and China have archives of valid complaints against each other, why are they being lodged just now?
Ostensibly, China is objecting to Japanese historical arrogance. In fact, however, there are hidden dynamics of greater import. Short term, China is arming its military as fast as possible to retake Taiwan by bluster or by force. Longer term, China is seeking to dominate Asia militarily (as well as economically).
The only foreseeable obstacles are the United States military, which China considers superable, since it gambles—probably rightly—that America would not trade an American city for an East Asian city. The other is Japan, the wild card. China’s greatest fear is that Japan will rearm and deploy thermonuclear weapons pointed at China. Not only would China feel enormously vulnerable, this would thwart China’s plan to dominate Japan.
At least to the Pacster, it is evident that China is whipping up anti-Japanese fervor to paralyze Japan with guilt, until it can dominate Japan militarily and then threaten Japan with overwhelming destruction should it try to deploy nuclear weapons.
In other words, today’s events are merely duplicitous subterfuge from the land of Sun Tzu.

Kublai Khan      Japanese soldier beheading Chinese male      Kublai Khan


— PacRim Jim
Inverting the Pyramid    April 2005

Lots of democracy going around. Everyone who’s anyone seems to be catching it. It’s trendy. It’s mob-worthy. It’s possibly even lasting.

Amidst the symbols and huzzahs, let’s not forget whence comes this bounty: The United States, more precisely the U.S. military backed by the U.S. taxpayer.

Overlooked, however, is a key to this pandemic surge of freedom: The World Wide Web, which sits atop the Internet, the direct descendant of BBN's 1969 ARPANET. And who funded ARPANET? The U.S. taxpayer via the Department of Defense.

America's strategy now stands revealed: First, soften up the oligarchies with an uncensorable flood of information via the Internet. Then optimally and emphatically reposition the U.S. military to support resistance movements worldwide, directly and indirectly.

The strategy has been long-term. It has been crafty. And it has been successful. It possibly may even have existed.

Let’s assume it has, shall we?

BBN team 1969      ARPANET 1969


— PacRim Jim
Hajjapalooza, dude!    March 2005

Hajjapalooza, dude!

— PacRim Jim
Welcome to the USA    March 2005

Indisputably, the United States is the world in microcosm. Sizeable populations from every country and ethnic group continuously blend into the mix across this great country, as participants in the freest and most prosperous political and economic experiment ever undertaken by our evolving species.

Unnoticed, perhaps, by all but the ever-perspicacious Pacster is the rebounding trend: The world is becoming America writ large.

It is understandable, then, that anti-Americanism is but protestation against one’s own, ineluctable future.

For the bettermost, the American system is humanity’s future. Oppose it at your descendants’ peril.

— PacRim Jim
Warming the Globe to Distribute Dead Trees    March 2005

Europe developed its new, gigantic A380 Airbus to distribute its new, gigantic, 485-page Constitution for Europe.

A380 Transporting EU Constitution

— PacRim Jim
PRJ’s Cliché of the Future    March 2005

You’ve not heard it yet, so let the Pacster be the first:  “That’s so 9-11.”

— PacRim Jim
The Summers of Harvard’s Discontent    March 2005

Massachusetts obviously was less than meticulous when decovening a few centuries ago.
The Harvard which is has a faculty of witches.

— PacRim Jim
American Empire    March 2005

Rome, Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, and other forgettable exploiters were empires of conquest.
The United States is the empire of an idea: freedom.

Statecraft is easier when you give people what they want.

— PacRim Jim
The American Avalanche    March 2005

Decade after somnolent decade, American financial and military strength gathered almost imperceptibly, like deepening drifts of snow on America’s remote peak.

Then, on 11 September 2001, two unaccustomed blasts loosed an avalanche of American power that even now cascades and rumbles around the world, leaving in its snowy wake the level blanket of democracy.

— PacRim Jim
Remember 1893?    March 2005

Remember 1893? Of course not.

In those simpler times, your great-great-grandparents enjoyed Little Egypt at the Chicago World’s Fair, the melodies of Tchaikovsky, the flood of inventions from the laboratory of Edison, the Victorian adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the novel delights of Cream of Wheat, and multifarious other novelties.

It so happened that, one night in thrall to nostalgia, PacRim Jim wondered what happened in 1893 other than the death of Holmes at Reichenbach Falls and the death of Tchaikovsky nine days after his greatest triumph, his sublime Symphony No. 6.

As is his serendipitous wont, the Pacster happened upon and obtained permission to use precisely the Web file that satisfied his curiosity.

Return now, if you will, to those irretrievable days of yesteryear.
Simply click the 1893 link near the top of this page to read (and save, if you so desire) the PDF file.

— PacRim Jim
Proxyblogging    February 2005

PacRim Jim is dizzy. His head and his clock’s hour hand spin as his bleary eyes and spasmodic index finger wander from blog to worthy blog, each written by an intelligent blogger prone to updating nanosecondly.

What is the blogweary wanderer to do?

The obvious choice would be to bury the computer in the back yard under a layer of lime, but the Pacster now lives on webtime and would suffer excruciating webwithdrawal were he to deblog cold turkey.

Alternatively, the Pacster could read more slowly to minimize sensory overload, or he might read more rapidly to minimize the temporal penalty. The final alternative, reading fewer blogs, is out of the question.

These obvious remedies aside, there remains an untested solution: the intelligent agent.

This software initially would track one’s blog behavior for an arbitrary length of time, say a week, after which it would induce the blogreader’s preferences, including the serendipitous byways that mitigate the tediousness of the process. Thereafter, one’s personal intelligent agent would, in the background and autonomously, wander the Web each day and read (and discover) thousands of blogs, from which it would collect and prioritize nonredundant information that it believes to be of interest to its putative master. Naturally, some training would be involved: “No, agent, I’m not interested in that type of information.” However, the ultimate result would be a daily, prioritized package of blogworthy info much more concise than the static, circumscribed, bloated, redundant aggregation provided by RSS. Gone would be the endless searching and adaptation to disparate blog formats.

The question arises, Which company will exhibit the foresight to develop such a killer app?

Google? The next Google?

— PacRim Jim
USA’s Contract with the World (Proposed)    February 2005

Insofar as we are capable, we, the people of the United States of America, shall encourage the spread of freedom to people throughout the world and we shall aid free people in opposing those who would deprive them thereof.

— PacRim Jim
Wal-Mart’s Plan B    February 2005

The confluence of trends in the Far East portends dramatic disruptions of China, Taiwan, the United States, and unsurprisingly Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer.

China has threatened repeatedly to use its burgeoning military to retake Taiwan within a decade, regardless of the cost. With equal determination, the U.S. has reiterated its intention to defend Taiwan from imperial conquest by China.

While conflict over Taiwan would be detrimental to America and China, it could be fatal to Wal-Mart unless the company adopts countermeasures now.

Incredibly, in 2004 Wal-Mart purchased goods worth $18 billion from China, which last year had a gross domestic product of $1.65 trillion. This means that Wal-Mart sells 1.1% of the entire Chinese GDP through its 3,600 stores in the U.S. and over 1,500 stores abroad.

If war, however limited, were to break out in the Taiwan Strait, the moment Chinese weapons begin to kill American servicemen and servicewomen, Wal-Mart would be paralyzed, since over 70% of its sales in the U.S. are products made in China and Americans would immediately boycott all products labeled “Made in China.”

To date, Wal-Mart has proved itself adept at anticipating future trends. For that reason, the Pacster assumes that Wal-Mart has formulated plans for expeditiously sourcing products from non-Chinese companies, in the event of hostilities made in China.

After all, wars come and go, but business is business.

— PacRim Jim
PacRim Jim’s Seven in 2-D    February 2005

PRJ’s Seven in 2-D


— PacRim Jim
Egon, Hamlet, and Other Fungi    February 2005

Of a stormy eve, PacRim Jim pondered a mushroom, Hamlet like. What, the Pacster wondered, are the differences among mushrooms, fungi, molds, mildews, and other such organisms as one might encounter in damp, unexplored places? And why would Ghostbuster Egon say that he collects “spores, molds, and fungus”?

Know that the fungus is the thing. Mildews, molds, mushrooms, rusts, smuts, and yeasts—all are types of fungi, which, of course, are plants, not animals.

First, mildews are whitish growths produced on living plants or other organic matter by fungi.
Molds are superficial, wooly growths found on damp or decaying matter as well as on living organisms.
Mushrooms are the aboveground, large, complex, and fleshy fruiting bodies of fungi.
Rusts, destructive diseases of plants, usually are reddish brown pustular lesions produced by fungi.
Smuts are destructive diseases of cereal grasses caused by parasitic fungi that transform plant organs into dark masses of spores.
Last, as any portly imbiber will attest, yeasts are minute fungi used in brewing and baking.

A spore is the reproductive body produced by fungi. Fungi shed these hardy packages to the wind by the millions, obviating the need to raise them.

Perhaps the most beautiful is the lichen, which is a symbiotic association of an alga and a fungus and lives on rocks and other hard surfaces, such as tree bark.

As for why Egon collects diverse fungi—suffice it to say that he’s the quintessential geek. Perhaps someone should inform him, though, that he actually collects spores, molds, and other fungi.

Sources: Merriam-Webster Online (m-w.com), Ghostbusters (1984, Columbia/Tristar Studios)

— PacRim Jim
Spero Ergo Sum    February 2005

Some believe there is no God because he cannot be scientifically proven to exist.
Others believe there is a God because he cannot be scientifically proven not to exist.
Both are beliefs, however fervently held. PacRim Jim tends to give wide berth to this Gordian knot, believing it to be as insoluble as it is bloody.

Like many of his fellow humans, however, the Pacster will admit to one belief most irrational: Hope.
Hope alone will sustain us through the surfeit of surrounding tragedy, and even through our own inevitable tragedy.
True, hope is irrational. Given the circumstances, however, irrationality seems the rational response.

— PacRim Jim
Causality Most Foul    February 2005

Ever preferable to foresmell, foresight is a wonderful thing. So wonderful, in fact, that it allows PacRim Jim to anticipate the calculated meme being formulated even now among those in academe with more wit than wisdom: To wit, credit for democracy in the Muslim heartland is due not to George W. Bush, but to Osama bin Laden, for had this Saudi terrorist not ordered his thralls to slaughter thousands on that accursed 11th day of November 2001, the first democratic domino never would have fallen in Iraq.

It is, therefore, with popcorn aplenty on his lap—more precisely, in a bowl on his lap—that the Pacster lazes before his telebox and awaits the projectile pronouncement of this malign meme.

— PacRim Jim
Coulda, Wouldn’ta, Shoulda    February 2005

According to that master of the self-loathing cavil, the American liberal, Iraq is South Vietnam redux. Admittedly, the parallel is inexact, though the Pacster could liken Fallujah 2004 to Hue 1968. Here, though, the simile breaks down completely.

In 1968, the Democrats controlled funding to the U.S. soldier in the field. The American Left, in their omniscience, transmuted into defeat the crushing victory of the Americans and South Vietnamese at Hue. Democrats in Congress later used this mirage to force America out of South Vietnam, leading, as predicted, to the deaths of millions of Southeast Asians at the hands of practiced Communist executioners.

Had the Democrats controlled Congress in 2004, a similar fate might have awaited millions of Iraqis. With the connivance of the ever-treacherous fifth columnists of the fourth estate and their accomplices in academia, a Democratic Congress would have misinterpreted the crushing American victory as defeat and forced the immediate withdrawal of American soldiers, thereby consigning to death millions of brave and trusting Iraqis.

The election and the rolling freedom now abroad in Iraq might have been extended to the South Vietnamese, had not Democrat Senators pandered, cut, run, and then closed their eyes to the horrific cost to South Vietnam and to America itself.

This time, America got it right.

— PacRim Jim
The Fulcrums of Freedom    February 2005

The Great Emancipator, the U.S. military, and the U.S. taxpayer freed 4,000,000 American slaves in the 19th century.

The Great Liberator, the U.S. military, and the U.S. taxpayer freed over 300,000,000 Russians, other Eastern Europeans, and Asians in the 20th century.

And now the Great Perseverer, the U.S. military, and the U.S. taxpayer have freed 27,000,000 Iraqis in this the 21st century.

Lincoln, Reagan, and Bush—all common Middle Americans with vision, beset at home and abroad by cynical naysayers, but with faith in the dignity of the oppressed and their yearning for freedom.

These religious Republicans remind everyone of what is best about America. For that, each of us owes them a heartfelt “Thank you.”

— PacRim Jim
PRJ’s Shopping Guide    January 2005

Buy nothing German.
Buy nothing French.
Buy little Chinese,
And only in a pinch.

— PacRim Jim
Soft Power    January 2005

Germans counsel soft power while guzzling lukewarm beer,
At home, their women weep into their pillows.
Frenchmen mince into new mosques with dhimmi heads hung low,
At home, their wives put D-cells into dildos.

— PacRim Jim
American Revolution 2.0    January 2005

In its myriad manifestations, America is of and for the average Joe and Jane. That both foreign and domestic elites have never understood and cannot abide.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that they will be threatened mortally by America’s new crusade, as enunciated by President George W. Bush in his second inaugural address, which, at long last, retargets American support at the very center of the bell curve, which is to say at common people in thrall to sundry supercilious elites.

To those who would oppose liberty, PacRim Jim says, “Know that you are obsolete and resist at your peril.”

Outliers, beware! America knows popular revolution.

— PacRim Jim
Verba longa, vita brevis    January 2005

As indexed by Google.com, the World-Wide Web has become the de facto, collective, permanent memory of the human race.

For that reason, anything you post on the Web can be googled by anyone, anywhere, for the indefinite future. That off-color blog comment of yours in 2001 could be read in 2010 by a prospective employer, and a possible mate could hire a Web-savvy detective to compile a complete dossier of your Web activities.

PacRim Jim advises you, therefore, to be careful what you post online. The Web never sleeps and it never forgets.

— PacRim Jim
Nasdaqian Verbalization    January 2005

Have you noticed the influx of Nasdaqian verbs into English?

The names of market-defining companies, products, Web sites, etc., that provide customers with quantum leaps in their ability to find, modify, and move information have been neologized as verbs and are now in widespread use. Examples include “to tivo” (to “time-shift”—more correctly, to delay— video broadcasts for later viewing), “to google” (to use the google.com search engine to locate text and graphics), “to photoshop” (to use Photoshop software to modify existing images, often undetectably), “to fedex” (to ship a package via Federal Express or, more generally, via any courier), “to slashdot” (to overwhelm a Web site with thousands of Web surfers who click simultaneously on a link newly posted at slashdot.com), and the prototypical “to xerox” (to photocopy).

Funny, though, “to amazon” seems to have segwayed.

— PacRim Jim
A Shrug of Earth    December 2004

Like you, PacRim Jim becomes irrational when confronted by ghastly death, especially tarp-covered mass death as inflicted sporadically by compassionless nature.

A South Asian tsunami that engulfs 175,000 fellow humans we consider a major tragedy, as indeed it is. But when each day more than 153,000 people—roughly the population of Fort Lauderdale, Florida—end their lives in a myriad ways, we accept it as the cost of doing life’s business. When each year 53 million humans—almost the population of Italy—leave us, we are grateful to have eluded relentless oblivion for yet another year and then entomb the lifeless statistic in a database.

For reasons unknown to the Pacster, the dispersed, slow-motion deaths of strangers pitter-patter below our threshold of detection. It seems that only after biotechnology and nanotechnology extend our lives to centuries will we humans realize that the death of a stranger is as tragic as our own.

— PacRim Jim

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