Sportsyball: The 2019 Predictions

All right, I'm just going to get down to brass tacks with this post:

1. I'm not doing an Adopt-A-Team this year. I feel like I've got a good stable of teams to track whenever the mood strikes me and I want to actually figure out a way to watch some of their games using the magic of the interwebs. Secondary goals for 2019-2020: go watch some soccer! Whether its the Hawkeye women's team, the Dubuque Union or even an MLS or NWSL game.

2. HAWKEYE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS: I think the B1G West might be one of the most interesting divisions in College Football this season. Quite literally everybody except Illinois probably can make a case for going to Indianapolis and a lot of people seem to be quite high on the usual suspect (Wisconsin), or buying in too soon on the up and comers (Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota) while completely forgetting other teams (Iowa, Northwestern). You can say the same for every division in every conference at this point of the season, since nobody has play…

Greenland, Our Fifty First State?

So apparently President Trump has inquired about the possibility of the United States acquiring Greenland, of all places- with, it is said, varying degrees of seriousness. This produced much mockery on the interwebs and a polite and firm refusal on the part of Greenland's government- but all of it got me thinking: how realistic is this notion, how would it all work and what would it look like, if it did?

Look, it sounds crazy, but it's actually not a new idea. I guess Harry Truman tried to buy Greenland for $100 million after the war. When Denmark fell to the Nazis during the Second World War, we stepped in and help defend the place and we've already got an Air Force Base up at Thule. It's not a completely crazy idea- but it is a complicated one.

First, yes, we can technically 'acquire' Greenland. It's probably not the word I would have used- perhaps, I would have said, 'maybe we can extend an invitiation to the people of Greenland to join our Union'…

The Samsonites We Carry

Do you have white teenage sons?

Listen up.

I've been watching my boys' online behavior & noticed that social media and vloggers are actively laying groundwork in white teens to turn them into alt-right/white supremacists.

Here's how: — joanna schroeder (@iproposethis) August 13, 2019 Ugh, this thread. Look, on the one hand this lady isn't wrong. As a parent, you wanna make sure that your kids- male or female, are watching and consuming healthy content online or watching age appropriate television shows. If I found my seven year old son watch an episode of The Wire, for instance that would be something that we would need to a. turn off immediately and b. have a little bit of a talk about. I have no problem with absolutely any of that.

This, however... is not that. It's not advocating healthy parenting and it's not even advocating raising healthy, well-mannered, upstanding young man. What it is doing, however, is feeding into a cultural notion that is far t…

Let's Talk About Hong Kong For A Second

One of the best classes I took as an undergraduate was a course on Chinese Foreign Policy taught by Professor Read- he was one of those Professors who really knew the subject matter of the course at an expert level and his enthusiasm for it was infectious. I appreciate Professors who know their shit and aren't just phoning it in- I think a lot of students can probably sense the difference as well, but as a result, I think I absorbed a ton of information about China and really had I been a little more focused in my career planning might have (and probably should have) doubled down on China as one of my serious areas of study for my Master's Degree.

But, c'est la vie- here I am, armchair political scientist and dabbler in the world of international relations and occasionally I follow news stories down rabbit holes and have to unload some of this excess knowledge I've accumulated over the years into a digestible form.

So, let's talk about Hong Kong for a second.

The T…

This Week In Vexillology #293

We're going back into the Lost Archives once more this week to take a look at two very different flags- both of which are from Africa. This week, we're going short and sweet with the flag of Tunisia and the flag of Mali.

First up, Mali:
The flag was predated by the flag of the Mali Federation which was more or less identical, except for the presence of a traditional kanaga figurrine. The Federation dissolved with the exit of Senegal and then the remaining colony of the French Sudan became Mali and dropped the kanaga and adopted the current flag on March 1st, 1961 and it's been that way ever since.

The tricolor pattern should be familiar: as a former French colony, it's a nice tie back to the colonial power- though I'm sure some folks were less than thrilled by that. So the color scheme of green-yellow-red are the traditional Pan-African colors and according to wikipedia, the green stands for the fetility of the land, gold is for purity and mineral wealth and the red…

Our First Political Donation

Every time we'd sit down and do our taxes and the tax lady would ask us if we wanted to throw a couple of bucks at the Presidential campaign fund, I would respond with a firm 'No.' In general, I felt that there were few, if any politicians that had done anything worthy of my money and I sort of took the attitude of, 'don't give them money, it'll only encourage them.'

The interminable march toward next November has been underway for months now. At this point in the cycle, I don't know much. I may not pick a candidate at all. I might make the decision right then and there in the voting booth next year and just let it go. It might be dependent on what the polls look like in Iowa. It might be dependent on any number of factors I haven't even considered yet. But I know two things for sure:

1. I'm not voting for a billionaire.

2. I have real problems voting for someone who wants to eliminate private insurance.

The latter point isn't because I don…

Bookshot #121: The Wandering Earth

I've never been big into collections of short stories. But lately, I've been hearing more and more about the rise of Chinese science fiction and when a preview for The Wandering Earth showed up on the interwebs a few months back, I decided to run down the original novella by Liu Cixin and give it a try-- I didn't know, however that it came along with more short stories. So, I worked my way through all of them and this is what I thought:

The titular novella, The Wandering Earth tells the story of a future where scientists detect an impending hydrogen burst from the sun which will wipe out all life in the inner solar system. In response, humanity unites to construct massive Earth Engines to first stop Earth's rotation and then start a journey out of the solar system and into the nearby star system at Proxima Centauri. Most of Earth's surface is ruined and then frozen by first stopping the rotation of the planet and then moving out into the darkness of space. Humanity…