2 must-watch documentaries . . .

My wife and I have recently watched 2 documentaries that, IMHO, everyone needs to see.  They are both currently available on Netflix streaming video.

The first one is “Challenger: The Final Flight” – obviously about the final flight of the Challenger space shuttle, and all of the bureaucratic failures that led to the disaster.

Just as disturbing, and much more currently relevant, is the second documentary.  It is called “/the social dilemma” – and yes, that backslash at the front IS part of the title.  No spoilers, but I guarantee you’ll want to reevaluate your use of social media after watching this.


Shout it out loud . . .

Healthy People 2020 and The Decade of Vaccines – is an article that describes an official government policy 35 years in the making, with the ultimate goal to justify a nanny state government take-over of nearly every aspect of your personal life.  All in the name of “public health issues”.  You can read the full article here:



Seeing Stars – Trek or Wars?

A few days ago I had a wild thought, but so far nobody I’ve talked to about it has disagreed with it.  So,  I thought I’d share the thought here and see what everyone out there thinks of it.

Anyone who is a fan of science fiction knows that the fans of Star Trek and Star Wars rarely overlap.  I don’t mean casual fans, but rather the nearly rabid ones who dress up in their home-made costumes (which can actually be better quality than the actors wore on set!) and use their vacations to go to ComiCon.  At that level, you either like Star Trek or Star Wars, and not usually both.

As one who is a fan of both franchises, this has mildly interested me for many years. I think I’ve managed to boil it down to one central thought.  Which franchise you prefer depends on what you think of Big Brother. Both franchises have one.  In Star Wars, Big Brother is the domineering, overpowering Empire.  In Star Trek, Big Brother is the United Federation of Planets, and it’s military – Star Fleet.

So, what do you think of Big Brother?  Is it a benevolent protector, always ready to lend a hand and work towards the betterment of all?  Or, is it the dark, oppressive, dictator that micromanages everything in your life?

Personally, I think it is both. I can see the potential of a truly benevolent organization that is large and powerful enough to be able to help literally anyone anywhere.  However,  Big Brother can not ever be anything but evil, even when built out of the most altruistic of intentions.  The old truism states plainly: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Reflect, if you will, on some of the idle speculation that ran rampant between Barack Obama’s coronation as the Democratic Party candidate for POTUS back in ’08, and when he was sworn in as the new President. There was talk of states wanting to leave the US, and heavily Democratic States threatening a 2nd US Civil War if they tried.

THAT IS NOT A BENEVOLENT GOVERNMENT!  There is no way on earth that a benevolent organization would resort to the use of lethal force to make those who disagree with it bow to their decisions.  Let me be very clear about one thing – NO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HAS THE MORAL AUTHORITY TO DEMAND SUBSERVIENCE, or make decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of people its leaders have never met.

It is my humble belief that the maximum viable population that any government can legitimately lead is about 50,000.  You get much smaller than that, and you really don’t need a government, but any larger than that, and you really do need to look at splitting the populations to separate areas, and having separate, autonomous, groups.  Governments should always answer to the people, and should never have authority to make rules that go against the wishes of the people it serves.  Individuals should always have the option to “vote with their feet” if they feel that a government does not serve them or reflect their ideals.

Radio Shack is desperate…

RadioShack died this year but its icy hand still holds the social security numbers of millions of customers—information they promised to keep to themselves. Noble! Also hollow and meaningless!

Via the Guardian, the ‘Shack’s attorneys are reportedly looking to sell everything not nailed down in the wake of the company’s bankruptcy filings—including your name, contact information, social security number and anything else you were dumb enough to give them in exchange for a tiny warranty.

The highly sensitive information (SSNs and the like) is retained at stores for two years and then purged. Less sensitive purchase records were expunged after three years in some cases, but RadioShack kept them “indefinitely” if customers bought a warranty, so if you bought insurance on your television in 1998, RadioShack remembers.

Now the company is trying to determine how much it will be able to legally sell in an effort to keep creditors at bay. It has decided emails and addresses are probably what it wants to sell, specifically “67 million customer name and physical mailing address files together with any associated transaction data collected by the Debtors within the five (5) year period prior” to its bankruptcy, according to a recommendation by the company’s attorney, Elise Frejka.

The FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection is reportedly NOT a fan of this plan, pointing out that RadioShack’s privacy policy explicitly promises to protect personally identifiable information.

This is all exactly why I don’t ever give any business anything I can find a way to avoid giving them.  I pay cash whenever possible, do not fill out warranty or product registration cards, and never, never, never buy the extended warranty.  Once you give a business your personal information, you’ve lost control over it, forever.