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Flying Pharoahs

August 4, 2010 5 comments

The Pharaohs Could Fly

Much of what people have regarded as magic and “god” over the centuries have really been things they just didn’t understand so they attributed mystical significance to normal events.

A great example of this is a piece I read by Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions) who wrote that the ancient Egyptians could fly.  Obviously, we know that they did not.  They left us so many records in the form of artwork and writings that we would know if they had.

But, they had bamboo, papyrus, linen, and the thermals and steady winds of the Nile valley.  They could have built gliders capable of sailing hundreds of miles.  Unfortunately, they were ignorant of the laws of aerodynamics even though they were as much in effect then as now.  But they didn’t know, so they didn’t go.

It’s possible that there are laws of physics that we don’t know about today that, if we did, we would be capable of feats as astounding to us (including flying without planes) as flying would have been to the Pharaohs, who would have assumed that was supernatural, but was only the application of physical laws effective for anyone.

Even today, we see the same thing when people, observing anything they do not understand, assume it has a supernatural source.  “God cured me of cancer”  “The lord was with us.  It’s a miracle only 12 people were killed.  It could have been worse.”  “I don’t understand how evolution could possibly work, so it must have been god.”

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Have Faith

August 4, 2010 14 comments

Let’s All Have Faith

If something cannot be proven, there is likely to be a reason for it.   If something cannot be seen, it can still be proven.  Gravity cannot be seen by of our current technology.  But its effects can be seen and measured.  Just try dropping an iron weight on your toe.  Or do you think that was a spiritual effect by god to punish you for being stupid enough to drop it on your toe?

Gravity can be measured, its actions observed and even predicted.  I knew that weight was going to hurt your toe.  You probably did too, so you decided not to drop it on your foot.

“But you must have Faith!”  OK, I am willing to test that.  Are you?

I invite you to the roof of my building.  It’s not too high, between 25 and 30 meters (80 to 90 feet).  I hand you a large belt and tell you to put it on.  As you are buckling it, I explain that it is an anti-gravity belt I have built.  I add that it repels gravitational force, just as ordinary magnets repel each other.

Like magnets, the closer it is to the earth, the more powerfully it works.  So, when you first step off the roof, you’ll fall fairly fast.  But as you near the concrete parking lot below, you’ll slow down until you stop just a short distance above the ground.  Way more fun than bungee jumping, right?

Now go on, step off the roof.  What? You want to know how it works?  The entire secret was revealed to me by a space alien in a series of visions.  He also told me that drinking too much alcohol was bad for me.  I know that to be true, so this has to be true, too.  It’s too complicated for you to understand anyway. You need me to interpret its action for you and for you to have faith.

Yes, I’ve already tried it, now it’s your turn.  Off you go now.  Take a leap of faith.

Term Limits

August 3, 2010 18 comments

Term Limits

This was a Guest Editorial for the Arizona Republic, October 1990.  It seems more true today than it did then.
“Those who trade liberty for security will soon have neither.”– Benjamin Franklin
“When a government fears the constituency, its first action is to disarm them. When faced with this action, the constituency’s duty is to arm itself even further.” — James E. Smith
“Governments need enemies to justify their existence.” — Edward Abbey
With the fall of the Soviet Union, the American Government needs a visible enemy. It seems to have chosen the American people to fill this role. When the government declares war on your rights it’s always “For your own good.” In reality, it’s only to increase that government’s power and to perpetuate itself in an increasingly larger form.
It’s time to make some fundamental changes in the American system if we are to preserve our traditional liberties. The founding fathers never intended that anyone would hold a public office for a lifetime. Today, we see politicians whose only purpose is to be re-elected. Everything they do, all the deals, compromises, and voting is to that end. If they were only permitted to serve one term, none of this could happen. In fact, a person should only be permitted one elected position in a lifetime. with a maximum term of six years. We could go even further and allow no one to work for any government in any capacity for more than six years. The military could be exempt from this restriction, as this is the one area where experience might be useful. Is there any other government job that the average individual cannot master in six months to a year?  Who is truly satisfied with a government “service”?  Is anyone happy with the Social Security Administration, the TSA (Terminally Stupid Association) or  Homeland Security?  (Hopelessly Silly)
Many would say that this plan would throw out the good with the bad. What good? Does anyone know of an elected, appointed, or hired government employee that couldn’t be easily replaced? After six years, they are no longer part of the solution but have become the problem. They need to get back into the work force and find a real job. If they knew they were going to have to rejoin the real world and live with the results of their actions, it might influence some of the decisions being made in government. The first monetary savings would be the elimination of the incredible retirement package they have voted themselves.
Who would serve under those conditions? Most Americans would do so. For some positions, it might be necessary to have a mandatory period of national service; not a bad idea in itself. Draftees could serve as lower-level public servants for two years, then be free to pursue their careers.
Private industries or groups could better provide many government “services” anyway. Two prime examples are the Tennessee Valley Authority and fire departments. The TVA is subsidized by taxpayers all over the country so that select consumers may enjoy electric rates far below the national average. The entire system could be sold to private power companies for billions of dollars. Resulting in a handy profit for the government and some relief for the taxpayer. The TVA customers have to become accustomed to the real world of energy costs where the rest of us have lived for decades.
Those who have fire protection from Rural Metro know that their service far exceeds what is usually available from government-run fire companies and at a surprisingly low cost. Local governments could vend fire protection to private companies. Firefighters deserve to be properly paid and the open marketplace is the only way to ensure this.
Most readers can think of many instances where a government “service” competes with private business. Vending these out or simply getting out of the business would help both the government and the commercial enterprises. The government would gain tax revenue while cutting expenses and the business would prosper. Taxpayers would receive better service at lower costs. This is a “win-win-win” solution.

James E. Smith

Universal Truths

August 3, 2010 6 comments

Smith’s Universal Truths
A universal truth is something that’s true at all times for all people.  Here are a few.

  1. Beware of any project that starts with the words, “Remove old finish.”
  2. True happiness is finding someone who will tolerate you.  The first step in finding that person is admitting that you need some tolerating.
  3. If you wonder why something is the way it is; learn who’s making money from it being that way.
  4. If it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t dessert.  Banana cream pie, for example, is just another part of the meal like the green beans or asparagus.
  5. Whenever someone tells you they are doing something “for your own good,” you can be certain that you won’t like it.  Furthermore, they will expect you to pay for it.  If they’re “protecting your morals,” you’ll have to pay double.
  6. Not all lawyers should be shot.  Some should be hanged.
  7. Beliefs, no matter how sincerely held, do not alter facts.
  8. Nothing is so perfect that someone, somewhere, won’t hate it.
  9. Real knowledge is knowing where to find the answers.
  10. The world is run by the people that show up.
  11. Information is not knowledge anymore than loose ingredients are a cake.
  12. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights make a left.
  13. Intellectualism must not be confused with wisdom.
  14. A problem with doing anything right the first time is that no one knows how difficult it was.
  15. Few things in life succeed as well as a power-off reset.
  16. The difference between adventure and disaster is preparation.
  17. The most popular human pastime is denial.
  18. Forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission.
  19. Any solution proposed by a politician will contain more problems than it solves.
  20. Don’t worry, you’re not the first.
  21. You can have it if you’re willing to pay for it.
  22. Man’s most precious possessions are his delusions.  No power equals that of self-deception.
  23. An entity that cannot laugh at itself has planted the seeds of its own destruction.
  24. We earn our appellations by our conduct.
  25. Any statement containing the words, “if everyone” will be void of logical content.
  26. Excuses are easier than action.
  27. The most difficult human task is thinking before speaking or acting.
  28. To most people, personal convenience is more important than courtesy or respect for others.
  29. If something “goes without saying” you can be sure that someone will say it.
  30. Sometimes it’s harder to sell the truth than it is a lie.
  31. Local customs are not laws of nature. – Marcus Aurelius
  32. The human race will never be truly free as long as it willingly submits to the tyranny of religion.

Knives vs Rocks

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Knives vs Rocks

Restricting knives is a good idea, but they ignore an even greater danger that has been going on far longer. I refer to that hideously vicious weapon, the rock. Here are just a few facts about them.

Rocks have killed a greater proportion of the human race than guns, bombs or knives. In fact, bombs have been used to cause rocks to be violently distributed in a killing wave of mass destruction.

From even pre-historic days, rocks have been used as killing machines. Even the Koran and the Bible contain accounts and advice to “stone people”, often to death. So the evil history of Rocks is well-documented.

Rocks can be obtained by anyone, even children, at no significant cost and are totally unregulated, much less registered or restricted. For far too many children, a rock is their first introduction to violent behavior. Who has not seen children practicing their accuracy with rocks by throwing them at targets or even into waterways?

Because children start so early with these dangerous rocks, it can be surmised that they are also a gateway device to even more destructive devices and behavior.

Modern man, not content with natural means of murder, has created artificial rocks and attempted to disguise their true nature by calling them “concrete” and “bricks” but numerous accounts with pictures and even video show people using these seemingly innocuous objects as they were truly intended, smashing and killing.

We and our children can never be safe and truly civilized until every rock is registered and rendered harmless by reducing them to sizes no larger than 10 grams. Even then, they may be a hazard to eyes, so everyone should be provided with protective goggles that are to be worn at all times.

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