Sunday, May 31, 2009

Amazing theorem

Dear Seminarians:

Yesterday I ran across the most amazing theorem. In WWII, Army Intelligence had the job of estimating the number of German Mark V tanks manufactured. The Germans naively numbered them sequentially, starting with "1" as they rolled off the assembly line. Problem: From a sample of M captured tanks, estimate the total number N that exist. This is possible to obtain with amazing precision!

Say you have a sample of captured tanks numbered {57, 103, 406, 44, 91}. That's a sample of five. So take 6/5 of the largest serial number and subtract 1. in this case, (6/5 X 406) -1 = 486 tanks total would be your best guess from doing this once.

The algorithm is to take the largest number out of a random sample of k tanks. Multiply this largest number by (k+1)/k and subtract 1. Now do it for another random set of k numbers. And again...and again...The mean of these numbers is an unbiased estimate which will converge to N, the total number! Assuming that the serial numbers of captured tanks was random to begin with, of course.

In real life, there were about 3000 tanks manufactured and Army Intelligence took random samples of size 100 out of the five hundred or so they captured many times. The mean of these numbers converged to 3001!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

H.R. 1388 was passed yesterday, behind our backs

Whether you are an Obama fan, or not, EVERYONE IN THE U. S. needs to know.....

Something happened... H.R. 1388 was passed yesterday, behind our backs. You may want to read about it. It wasn't mentioned on the news.... just went by on the ticker tape at the bottom of the CNN screen.

Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA . This is the news that didn't make the headlines...

By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in "migration assistance" to the Palestinian refugees and "conflict victims" in Gaza .

The "presidential determination", which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States, was signed on January 27 and appeared in the Federal Register on February 4.

Few on Capitol Hill, or in the media, took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006.

Let's review...itemized list of some of Barack Obama's most recent actions since his inauguration:

His first call to any head of state, as president, was to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah party in the Palestinian territory.

His first one-on-one television interview with any news organization was with Al Arabia television.

His first executive order was to fund/facilitate abortion(s) not just here within the U. S., but within the world, using U. S. tax payer funds.

He ordered Guantanamo Bay closed and all military trials of detainees halted.

He ordered overseas CIA interrogation centers closed.

He withdrew all charges against the masterminds behind the USS Cole and the "terror attack" on 9/11.

Now we learn that he is allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refuges to move to, and live in, the US at American taxpayer expense.

These important, and insightful, issues are being "lost" in the blinding bail-outs and "stimulation" packages.

Doubtful? Verify this for yourself.


We are losing this country at a rapid pace.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ten facts about Memorial Day

General Orders No. 11 stated that "in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed," but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday.

It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.

Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union Gen. Dan Butterfield "grew tired of the 'lights out' call sounded at the end of each day," according to The Washington Post. Together with the brigade bugler, Butterfield made some changes to the tune.

Not long after, the melody was used at a burial for the first time, when a battery commander ordered it played in lieu of the customary three rifle volleys over the grave. The battery was so close to enemy lines, the commander was worried the shots would spark renewed fighting.

The World War I poem "In Flanders Fields," by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for "keeping the faith with all who died." The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

from CNN

Thursday, May 21, 2009

USMC Sanitation, Monkey-Marble Mountains, Danang, VN

I don't remember if I ever shared this "war story" with you all before but I recently passed it along to another friend. Harry is my oldest surviving friend: we went together through the Marines initial training for commissioned officers, The Basic School, which in 1965 was geared to graduated 2Lts ready to lead infantry. Harry opted to go to Ft. Sill to be trained as an arty officer. When I got back off the USS Repose from my first WIA adventure, Harry had joined our company, Lima 3/1, as our Forward Observer.

This little article tells a lot about my friend. He's a terrific writer and observer of life, being an Alabama lad, grad of Auburn. I thought it not an inappropriate article as we embark upon the Christmas season, ponder our foibles, the never-ending attempts of man to understand his world and meet the challenges presented, and give Thanks.

Semper Fi,
Tom Eagen

Field Sanitation

By Harry Hooper

In mid-September of 1966 I was ordered to an observation post called Crow's Nest. It was on top of Marble Mountain south of the airstrip at Danang. It was the mission of the Crow's Nest observation post to protect the airstrip, and to keep the Viet Cong from damaging the air-conditioned trailers of the aviators, and the nice barracks of their support troops, by firing rockets or mortars at them. The aircraft were a concern also. The mission was to be accomplished by raining artillery fire onto the heads of any VC who had the temerity to attack the big base and the Marine air base which was north and east of the mountain.

Marble Mountain was actually several spindly shafts of rock. The highest one rose 105 meters straight out of the sand just west of the South China Sea and it was upon this rock that the Crow's Nest sat. The mountain was mostly made of marble except that the marble became karst at the higher elevations. The entire mountain was full of caves and tunnels. Most of them were too small for a man to enter. I think if it had been possible to saw it in half it would look like a plank eaten by termites.

At the summit was an area which was 20 feet at its widest and in length, it was perhaps 150 feet. This was occupied by a wooden platform upon which was emplaced a 106 millimeter recoilless rifle. The plan was that anytime the wily Cong fired rockets at the airstrip, they would be engaged immediately by the 106 while the FO, me, would send a fire mission to my artillery battalion which would blast the offending VC into rubble. Since the VC only fired rockets at night, and usually moonless nights, exactly how we were to accomplish this was never revealed to me.

Life on Crow's Nest was not unpleasant. There were eight of us up there. There was the 106 crew, a couple of machine gunners manning a single M-60, my trusty radio operator, Lance Corporal Papkin, and my wireman, PFC Clapp. Once a week a CH-34 helicopter would appear slinging beneath it a cargo net containing C-rats, beer, and cigarettes. Prior lifts had delivered timber and corrogated tin which had been used to construct a comfortable hooch.

We had all of the comforts of home and unlike home, we could wake up mornings to a splendid view of the South China Sea and enjoy spectacular sunsets over the Annamese Mountains. Moreover, we felt safe. The climb to the top of Crow's Nest was quite difficult and entailed shinnying up a hawser for part of the way. At night we would pull the hawser to the top and we felt pretty sure that no VC could get to us, at least not without working up a substantial sweat. Occasionally, at dusk, a sniper would crank off a round or two in our direction and we would answer with a short blast from the M-60. If we were feeling particularly surly, or if a round holed our tin roof, we would reply with a 106 HEAT round.

It did occur to me that my military career would be in serious jeopardy if some enterprising VC got to the top, swung the 106 to the north, and proceeded to blast away at important people's command posts and trailers. Consequently, every time we heard any strange sounds from the side of the mountain we tossed grenades at them.

Days were spent eating, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and listening to a tape player which had a single Beatles tape. The album was called "Revolver" and Eleanor Rigby was the featured song, or at least the only one I remember. We must have heard it a thousand times. After enough beer I would actually began to worry about Eleanor's plight.

On a typical day we would watch air traffic circling and landing at Danang. One day we saw a B-52 make an unsuccessful emergency landing. Crow's Nest must have been at least ten miles from the airfield but nevertheless, when the wind was favorable, it was possible to hear C-130's revving up. At night we would watch F-4's and F-105's scream overhead with their afterburners flaring. One night we saw an F-4 get hit by an errant 105 millimeter illumination round and watched in amazement as the pilots parachuted from the plane. More astonishingly, a little Kaman helicopter was there to pick them up almost as soon as they hit the ground.

When vehicles traveled the MSR heading south, to what was then the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines CP, we would watch closely for snipers shooting at them. Occasionally we would see a small firefight between the Marines in the vehicles and the VC. The 106 gunners, who were truly crack shots, would fire at the snipers, undoubtedly scaring the bejesus out of the truckers, and perhaps erasing a few VC.

The 106 had a .50 caliber rifle on top of the weapon. This was called the minor caliber. The 106 itself, was called the major caliber. The gunner, when he found the target with the minor caliber, would yell, "fire the major caliber." The explosion from the recoilless rifle was like the crack of doom. The difference between the minor caliber and the major caliber was like the difference between a hand grenade explosion and the atom bomb.

We also had a dog which provided some entertainment. The dog was named Boom Boom, either out of respect for the 106 or after entertainment of the same name which was available for a few piasters from one of the professional women who plied their trade in the village of Nui Kim Son. It was a nice little dog and probably lived its entire life on top of Crow's Nest since I am sure the OP was occupied by U.S. troops until the pullout. That is not a lot of running room for a dog for an entire lifetime but it probably beat becoming rotisserie dog.

One of the problems with eight Marines on a small piece of real estate was that of field sanitation. This had been temporarily solved by placing a 106 ammo box, with an appropriate hole cut into it, over a shaft in the limestone which was at least 12 to 15 feet straight down. It seemed to angle off to the side after that and we suspected that it continued deep into the mountain. When relieving oneself of C-rats washed down with beer, the alimentary canal produced a product which resounded with a satisfying splat as it bottomed into the abyss of the pit.

In time, the OP, especially at night, became redolent of sewage. As a highly trained second lieutenant, having been a recent graduate of The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, I resolved to solve this. Someone could have become ill as a result of this situation, or at least gag. Accordingly, I contacted the S-4 on the radio and requested gasoline so that the offending matter could be incinerated. In due time the supply helicopter arrived with its cargo net and with it, four jerry cans of diesel fuel.

It may have been a product of our boredom or the excitement of having something new to accomplish, but in any event, as soon as the cans were unloaded, we removed the ammo box and poured twenty gallons of diesel fuel into the pit. With great anticipation we threw a match into the pit. Nothing. Then we lit a pack of matches and tossed it into the odoriferous hole. Nothing. Then we lit a large splinter from an ammo box and tossed it into the maw. It made a nice little fire for a while but the diesel didn't catch. Next came an illumination grenade. The pit remained as fireless as a tenderfoot with flint and steel. That is when we learned that diesel doesn't burn, at least, it didn't on Crow's Nest. Our disappointment was palpable.

Story continued here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"If you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."

Dear friends, family, loved ones, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, my brother in law, Sam, and my cousin Joe: I am sorry and you were right.

These are not easy words for anyone to utter, much less a leftist from Berkeley, or a recovering leftist, that is. Even though I've been in recovery for 14 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days, leftists are always right in your face, in an I-hate-you-if-you-disagree sort of way. Hence, this letter of amends to all the people I've lectured, scolded, ranted and raved at, and otherwise annoyed during my 30 plus years of "progressive" politics.

How did I go from a rabid, sanctimonious liberal whom you steadfastly avoided at family gatherings to a fan of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage? Recovery encourages us to share our story, so here's mine:

Story continues here.

American Thinker

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Clear signs of the coming Thermageddon

It's snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.

And that’s just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours - and all over our global warming alarmists.

Time’s up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.

Doubt it? Then here’s a test.

Name just three clear signs the planet is warming as the alarmists claim it should. Just three. Chances are your “proofs” are in fact on my list of 10 Top Myths about global warming.And if your “proofs” indeed turn out to be false, don’t get angry with me.

Just ask yourself: Why do you still believe that man is heating the planet to hell? What evidence do you have?

So let’s see if facts matter more to you than faith, and observations more than predictions.

Story continued here

Herald Sun

Girl talk

"Bill thought he was the president, too."


"Incredible. Absolutely incredible."
Wow. My dad used to run up and down Mt. Currahee in jump boots (everybody had to) and Mom would pour blood out of them, he had so many blood blisters. No Nike footwear back in 1942!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Government controls every drop of water

Democrats aim to control every drop of water in the country, under the guise of dealing with pollution. A bill to “clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States” has been introduced in the Senate — S.787, the Clean Water Restoration Act. To read the text of this bill, we recommend using the Open Congress version , which allows you to post citizen comments. Alternatively, the Library of Congress copy is here.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI). His remarks before the Senate on the occasion of introducing the bill are here. Draconian interpretation of government control of US waters in the earlier Clean Water Act had been somewhat limited by Supreme Court decisions. In his opening statement, Feingold made it clear that his purpose was to recover the Orwellian power that had been impaired by the judiciary by means of legislation:

Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to restore Clean Water Act protections for the same waters that were covered by the Act prior to two recent divisive U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Here is an enumeration of the waters included:

WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES- The term ‘waters of the United States’ means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.

Congress justifies its power to meddle in every aspect of American life through the “commerce clause” in the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3):

The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce … among the several States….

The founding fathers only intended that Congress should provide a level playing field for interactions between and among the states. In stark contrast to this original intention stands the extension of “waters” to include “all … intrastate waters and their tributaries.” The language of this bill enables Congress to come onto a private family farm and dictate what a farmer can do with his duck pond, or even with his cistern, which might conceivably be emptied into a ditch that might eventually flow into an intermittant stream!

In short, Congress has the power to prevent any citizen from relying on natural sources of drinking, cooking, and bathing water, and water to sustain a home garden. This legislation, combined with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, means that every United States citizen may only eat and drink at the pleasure of the government.

Of course, most “reasonable” folk will assume that, although the government has this stranglehold on our lives, it will not actually be used for such a purpose. As German history shows, the extent of governmental social engineering depends on who is in power. Recall that Hitler was elected, and for a time, very popular. The more fundamental question is whether we are willing to give government such power over us, in the naive expectation that a government proven incapable of protecting us against food-borne salmonella can provide us with adequate food and water safety. Do we want to take responsibility for assuring our food and water safety ourselves, as informed consumers, or do we want to trust a failed bureaucracy to protect us, at the sacrifice of our fundamental freedom?


Wikipedia — Clean Water Act