Random Thoughts

Next Sunday Italians will vote to change the composition of the two houses of parliament: the "lower" Camera dei Deputati and "upper" Senato della Repubblica. And as often happens with Italian politics, things are complicated. So, despite this site is mostly visited for other reasons than trivialities about politics in foreign countries, I thought I would provide here my own short-sighted, biased panorama of the situation.

If you are a long-time Thor comic book reader, you know Thor's hammer used to be really, really heavy. That means Thor used to be really, really strong. 

Somewhere along the way Big Hulk lobbyists decided that the green guy should be the strongest character in Marvel comics,so writers gave him both virtually unlimited strength and decided that Thor's hammer, the creatively-named Mjolnir (doesn't it just sound like Norse should sound?) was magic, and that is why only he could lift it.  He wasn't the strongest guy around any more, which left it with being supernatural, kind of a cop-out even to me as a kid.

A group of political scientists says a growing field of research has found links to genetics and political preferences - well, sort of.



Feb 11 2013 | 63 comment(s)

I’m going to go out on a limb, and write about guns. Specifically, handguns and so-called “assault weapons.”

I’m not going to opine about what the law should or shouldn’t be, but only about the personal advisability of owning these kinds of firearms.

Likewise I make no comment about shotguns and single-action rifles. If you enjoy owning them for skeet or target shooting, I’ve got no argument with you, and in fact I agree those activities are kind of fun. If you like them for dove or deer, more power to you, even though I don’t share your passion for hunting.


Two Asian charities have joined forces with the U.S. National Funeral Directors' Association (NFDA) to get people to start thinking about deathcare rather than healthcare.

No, deathcare is not another tine in Britain's expanding Liverpool Death Pathway fork, it is a chance to think about the way your final exit is made, assuming you were told you are on the NHS' mandatory road to demise in time to plan. 

We all share the concept of rooms. I suspect it's common and abstract enough to span cultures and millennia of history.

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one's eyes.)

Rooms are so common that at first it seems silly to even talk about rooms as an abstract concept. Yet, the simple obvious things are often important. Simple human things are often also quite difficult for computers and artificial intelligence.
During the short time that Roy Thomas took over as writer of the Fantastic Four from Stan Lee, the original writer, it got a lot better.  I know, I know, that is blasphemy.(1) There is a reason Stan Lee gets a cameo in every movie about every Marvel superhero - he co-created them all, he made them all famous. He is a bigger legend than the guys behind Batman or Superman, his economic impact rivals the GDP of many small nations.

Still, when is the last time you read a good Stan Lee comic? Eventually, people are just phoning it in. And that had happened on the Fantastic Four by 1972.
There was an old man and a second, older man who was considerably older than the old man; they were visiting a very old man.  The afternoon passed without them saying a word.  As the sun was low already, the old man said slowly: “I didn’t expect that I would come to think like this.”

The older man slowly took a deeper breath, just barely audible to the other two old men, looked further into the distance and replied: “Yes.”

If you subscribe to New Scientist, you can read an excerpt of "Science Left Behind" by their editors, drawn from the book and dealing with some of the more nonsensical ways progressives get catered to by politicians who are happy to check science, reason and data at the door if it will get out some votes; in this case by replacing plastic utensils in the Congressional cafeteria with corn-based ones that melted in soup and couldn't cut anything.
Two weeks ago I got a call inviting me to attend one of the inauguration balls for President Obama. But it wasn't to be held in Washington, D.C. it was in Texas.

Texas? you might think, but aren't Democrats irrelevant in Texas, almost as irrelevant as Republicans are in California?