The national anthem in Spanish

This is an interesting engagement of patriotism and common sense.  I don’t know how you feel about the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, being inappropriately co-opted and violated for the sake of the immigration debate, but I feel strongly about this one in a manner opposite my general standing on the issue overall.

Leave the damn song alone.

You see, it’s America’s song, a symbol of our nation that stands on its own two feet, and it is and forever should remain in English.  This may seem a trite and somewhat pedantic opinion, perhaps even a bit unintentionally jingoistic, but there is some level of patriotic anger that arises when something as meaningful and sacred as a national anthem is defiled by such blatant hijacking.  I’m confident this feeling is the same as that felt by most Muslims when they see terrorists using their peaceful religion for political purposes.

Francis Scott Key surely must be rolling in his grave at this point.

I see the new Spanish version of the song as spittle in the face of Americans.  I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.  Again, I know this seems a rather minor consideration in the scheme of things, but it’s not: it’s our national anthem, for fuck’s sake!

What this essentially means is that Latinos have commandeered the song and changed it to suit their needs.  Apparently, those responsible for this felt they could not be Americans unless they had their own version of our national anthem.

I have long felt that anyone wishing to be a member of our society should learn English at least at a sixth-grade level in order to be able to function in the majority of circumstances.  This little endeavor seems to be taking us in the wrong direction, I’m afraid.

Consider this: It is America’s song.  Americans speak English.  The song was written in English.  It is our country’s national anthem and represents our society.  Are you following the logic?

Sing the damn thing as it is meant to be: in English and without modification.  Do not offend our heritage.

You see, poppets, we did not make the national language Spanglish simply because so many Spanish-speaking people were coming to our borders seeking refuge and opportunity.  We did not change the colors of our flag to include those of other nations simply because people emigrated from those countries and came knocking on our doors.  We did not expand our national bird into a category to compensate for the melting pot of nationalities coming to America.

And we sure as hell don’t modify our national anthem because immigrants won’t learn English or want to make it their own.  Such action will alienate a great many supporters of the immigrant struggle currently taking place here, and support for amnesty and/or citizenship will be hurt by this.  Come on!  Let’s use some common sense, shall we?

While I realize this stance places me squarely on the conservative side of this issue, I stand with them proudly in this respect.  Leave our national anthem alone, will you?  Instead of trying to make this country in your own image, understand it’s our society and you must meet us on our terms.  It offends — or certainly should offend — every American to have this blatant mangling of our national anthem standing there before us like some repulsive disfigurement.

I’m sorry, but this is not acceptable to me, and it certainly shouldn’t be to any American.  There are times when inclusiveness and tolerance are assaulted, and this is just such a time.

Just leave the song alone.

Welcome to the future

Black holes.  They are an amazing bit of cosmological mayhem, even religiously — and jokingly — referred to as a place where god divided by zero.  They represent the omnipotent force of the universe in which we live, a place where the laws of nature are abolished, time slows and eventually stops — or at least breaks, space is curved infinitely and beyond our ability to comprehend, mass can no longer be measured as it races off the high end of the scale, and even light is prohibited from shining.  They are the the glue that holds galaxies together.  They swallow stars on scales well beyond anything we can imagine, even to the degree of consuming stellar matter equal to billions of suns.

Because of their quantum properties, however, black holes can actually create energy despite their tendency to consume anything and everything that falls within the sphere of their immense gravitational field.  In fact, the discovery of their energetic properties is something for which we can thank Stephen Hawking, and that is why this radiative expulsion is called Hawking radiation.

Why all the talk of these astronomical wonders?  They are so distant from us that there is little chance in our lifetime of ever observing one, right?  And even more importantly, we will never be able to tap the near infinite energy available via its energetic mechanics, correct?

Welcome to the future.

For the first time ever, humans have created the first artificial black hole, and it happened in a laboratory in New York.  That’s right, poppets.  We crafty Americans have once again accomplished the impossible.

Lasting for only 10 million billion billionths of a second, the artificial singularity (a place where the laws of physics break down) was created using a particle accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.  Two beams of gold nuclei were shot at each other at the speed of light.  Collisions of this type break down the nuclei of the matter used into even smaller particles, quarks and gluons, which are part of the most elementary building blocks of all known matter.  Under the conditions in this experiment, those basic particles formed a ball of plasma that absorbed all the other particles resulting from the experiment.

Voila!  A black hole.

Despite its very short life, this particular spacial abnormality generated heat 300 million times hotter than the surface of our own sun.  Imagine the implications if we were able to harness that kind of Hawking radiation.  It’s staggering to consider, although it’s equally troubling to contemplate the repercussions of such a thing growing out of control right here on our own planet.  But never let fear inhibit progress lest we stand still or even move backward.

This is a truly phenomenal event despite its brief life and minuscule size.  As Ed Shuryak, a physicist at Stony Brook University in New York, said, “It’s very useful in that it will inspire thinking in that direction.  But it’s going to be another thing to see if it produces any fruit.”  Therein lies the heart of the matter: it would take tremendous technological and scientific advancement to harness the potential of such a man-made creation, and to do it safely with absolutely no risk of harm to the planet would be of the utmost concern.

Despite all other considerations, nonetheless, this is a fascinating and utterly beguiling accomplishment that has far-reaching impact, and I speak not only of energy production but of a great many other areas, including theoretical physics, the nature of the universe, time and time travel, interstellar travel, and the list goes on.  I can not tell you how absolutely exciting this is.

It is, to coin a gay phrase, utterly fabulous.

On a related note…  If you’ve never read The Krone Experiment by Dr. J. Craig Wheeler, a physicist, you will want to both read it and see the new independent film adaptation of the work.  I will not spoil the book for those who have not read it as I did almost two decades ago, but I will say that it’s related to this black hole experiment and is both intriguing and scientifically accurate (in that he’s a physics Ph.D. and knows what he’s talking about).  I intend to see the film version at my earliest convenience.  In the meantime, I can not recommend enough that you read the book (although I can not vouch for the movie).  It captivated me in my late teens and ignited within me an even greater fire of interest in physics than that with which I was already cursed at the time.  Like the works of Carl Sagan, Wheeler ensured I filled my mind with both the fantastic and factual, and I believe you will also enjoy his various writings, but I strongly suggest you start with this one.

[via Unscrewing The Inscrutable]

Random Thought

A God who kept tinkering with the universe was absurd; a God who interfered with human freedom and creativity was tyrant. If God is seen as a self in a world of his own, an ego that relates to a thought, a cause separate from its effect, “he” becomes a being, not Being itself. An omnipotent, all-knowing tyrant is not so different from earthly dictators who make everything and everybody mere cogs in the machine which they controlled. An atheism that rejects such a God is amply justified.

— Karen Armstrong

How’s that war on terror goin’?

Not well, I can tell you that.

In 2004, there were 3,129 terrorist attacks worldwide.  Seems excessive, doesn’t it?  One would hope with America’s War on Terror™ that the numbers would be on the decline.  Um, it ain’t so.

In 2005, there were more than 11,000 terrorist attacks worldwide.  Does anyone see a problem here?  If our war is going so well, can someone explain to me why they nearly quadrupled from one year to the next?

The State Department would like to blame the discrepancy on a difference in the method of counting attacks, but I’m unclear on how you might count them differently from year to year: it was either a terrorist attack or it wasn’t; civilians were either targeted or they weren’t; the attacks were either carried out using unconventional tactics or they weren’t.

Am I the only one who thinks this is more spin in the face of horrible results?  And you can bet that number went up due in no small part to attacks occurring in Iraq under the “protection” of the U.S. occupying force, another military move on our part intended to make the place better and safer but that has had a polar opposite effect.

But wait, there’s more.

Our beloved government in its infinite wisdom wants us to believe al-Qaida leaders lost control of their terrorist network last year.  Um, sure.  I’d say the numbers show they must be on the run and out of control.  Wouldn’t you agree?

I’m sorry, but give me a fucking break.

[via AMERICAblog]