reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: August 2011

The Deal

Who else but Bill Whittle can so adeptly weave together the early history of commercial aviation, this month’s deadly Chinook crash involving members of SEAL Team Six, the end of the Space Shuttle program, the private space race, the November 2001 crash of American Airlines flight 587 in Queens, and the needless, gut-wrenching destruction of the recent London riots.

Don’t miss “The Deal”, Bill’s latest Afterburner, on PJTV:

I would add one minor adjustment, that I doubt Bill would quibble with: To me, it’s being willing to risk dying for something that’s the key. Excepting one who chooses to embrace certain death as the last and only possible way to save others (as a soldier diving on a grenade, using his body to prevent the deadly spray of shrapnel from killing his comrades-in-arms), in a culture that rightly celebrates and cherishes life, we achieve our ends by embracing risk and seeking to live through danger, not by dying. Dying is just what happens the one time the gamble doesn’t pay off, despite our best reasonable efforts to prevent it short of playing life safe and never daring to venture anything at all (which is an end far worse than dying in the pursuit of a meaningful goal).

Amazon has Ernest Gann’s “Fate is the Hunter” in paperback.

Rich Man, Poor Man

Bill Whittle’s latest Afterburner, “Rich Man, Poor Man”, is one of his finest. Watch it at Public Secrets:

In the grand scheme of things, we should indeed be celebrating this precious Civilization of ours, and its demonstrated, unrivaled ability to elevate everyone’s standard of living by liberating creative people to do what they do best — invent, innovate, and serve the wants and needs of others. It has taken a campaign of perspective-distorting envy and bitterness and cynicism sustained over decades to bring large numbers of us to believe otherwise, against all evidence.


There’s always the last, lingering bit of unpacking to do, but we’ve arrived in Packanack Lake, New Jersey, and were settled enough in the new house yesterday for me to start full-time work again.

I have two months of working remotely for my present Silicon Valley employer ahead before I strike off on my own to pursue “The Venture”, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to tie up loose ends and help gradually transition ownership of my areas of responsibility to other engineers.

Meanwhile, I’ve mostly set up my new home office, and am really looking forward to all that lies ahead.

Here’s the lake, by the way — just a few blocks away and what I expect will be a good “take a walk to clear my head” destination when needed:

More to come as time allows.

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