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The Prince: Niccolò Machiavelli

Published in 1532 posthumously, written in 1513 by Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance historian, The Prince is now considered to be very influential. It was written in the vernacular Italian instead of Latin. The main theme suggests how to obtain power and how to keep it.

The Prince is a short read and overall not too complex to digest. It’s widely read, studied in major universities, and is a must read for politically-minded thinkers. It seems to me the potential of this writing is the mindset of what rulers really think. Machiavelli is giving us a front row seat to the arena, which otherwise we might not have absorbed the culture. This is a rare glimpse of what power is all about.

Machiavelli answered the question between choosing fear and love : The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved. Chapter 17, page. 60.

“It is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves,” Machiavelli addresses to his readers, in Chapter XVIII in The Prince.

Three popular works have come from Italy and have been translated around the world — The Prince, Divine Comedy, and Pinocchio. Machiavelli would have been utterly amazed that his work would have done so well some 500 years later. In fact, his ideas are arguably more relevant in today’s environment!

In the year 1513, Machiavelli was accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and he was actually arrested. A professor from the United Kingdom claimed that he found the original warrant in Florence.

The phrase the end justifies the means is pure Machiavellianism, disregarding behavioral attitudes concerning morality. Good or evil is simply not part of the equation; self-interest and personal gain is the entire focus. It should be stated that not all philosophers agree with this psychology. However, many politicians do agree and keep the book readily at arm’s length.

Ironically, the author Niccolò Machiavelli was supposedly passionate and not the macho man as portrayed. From a more unique perspective, there is now a vivid portrayal of the great Italian philosopher: Niccolo’s Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli.

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Fleet Week In Baltimore

You can bet your DUF6 that the big buzz was in Baltimore this past week. Why hex yeah, climb aboard the NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship. This was at a cost of $46.9 million, including a $28.3 million nuclear reactor and fuel core, all funded by United States government agencies. It’s Fleet Week in Baltimore.

The first Fleet Week was held in San Diego, California, during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

With a program of $22.5 billion you get the “21st Century Destroyer”. Commissioned on October 15, 2016, the Navy debuts the futuristic USS Zumwalt, a one of a kind stealth marvel with the low radar profile. Can less really be more?

If it’s noise that you’re after you’d better speak up pal, because the Blue Angels are drowning you out. Yes, I’ve seen them in action also.

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There’s A Chuck-will’s-widow Outside My Window

It was a warm spring night when I was browsing on the computer, and then suddenly an unfamiliar but very warm song penetrated my ears, as well as my psyche. The unbroken melodic sounds were very relaxing, yet somehow unsettling at the same time. The notes were very similar to the mark of a whip-poor-will, but not exactly the same. Upon doing my usual YouTube classic sound reference move, I soon guessed that it was a Chuck-will’s-widow.

One legend claims that a whip-poor-will can sense a soul departing or a death in the neighborhood. A Native American legend believes that the haunting song of the species is a death omen.

And the sound that I heard after midnight was hauntingly beautiful. Is there a Ghost House nearby?

The Road Not Taken is a poetic classic that we may have misunderstood. This popular Robert Frost classic is incredibly popular by all standards.

“In the middle of the poem it becomes very clear that the two roads that the speaker is confronting are actually the same, or at least interchangeable.” This is explained by David Orr, poetry columnist for The New York Times. He says Americans have the poem all wrong.

Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Does it really matter which road that I take? ‘The Road Not Taken’ may be the same as a dozen other choices in life. Nothing is simple in life.

I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Or maybe I just wanted to accentuate my individualism.

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Expletive Vs Explicative

We all make mistakes when it comes to language, because none of us are perfect. The expletive is explicative of the nature of it. It’s so easy to fit one word into a sentence and get it wrong. Today we focus on expletive vs. explicative. What’s the difference?

Expletive Vs Explicative

1. Expletive — an interjectory word or expression, frequently profane. (Noun. Source: Dictionary.com)
2. Explicative — explanatory. (Adjective. Source: Dictionary.com)

Expletive refers to an expression, which usually involves curse words. It’s a polite way of saying that the user is employing profanity in the dialogue.

Explicative is another cool version of explain. It sounds intellectual doesn’t it?

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Declassified: Recovery of the K-129

If you happen to be a member of Amazon Prime, be sure to catch a documentary named Azorian: The Raising Of The K-129. You will not be disappointed. I promise. It’s a most interesting true story about the Soviet submarine K-129: Sank on March 8, 1968, approximately 1,560 nautical miles northwest of Oahu in the Pacific Ocean with all hands. All 98 crewmen perished.

The United States has done a magnificent job of keeping the incident quiet for decades, and this is probably one of the best kept secrets of the century.

The Day She Sank: The Soviet K-129

Carrying the hull number 722 on her final deployment, she sank on March 8, 1968. The K-129 sank about 3 miles in the deep blue ocean, situated northwest of Hawaii.

“It was one of four mysterious submarine disappearances in 1968; the others being the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, the French submarine Minerve (S647) and the US submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589).”

Project Azorian: The United States Intelligence Agency Secretly Wants To Recover The K-129

Here’s the kicker. The sub was carrying a nuclear missile (R-21, also known as NATO SS-N-5 Serb), and the CIA wanted to extract the details, including cryptological documents and equipment.

Project Azorian was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations during the the Cold War era with a price tag of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2016 dollars).” Some have claimed that the project was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

GSF Explorer — a deep-sea drillship platform initially built to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129

The Hunt for Red October was based on this story. “Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE), as the ship was called at the time, was built between 1973 and 1974, by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.” On June 20, 1974 she set sail.

Spoiler Alert

In July of 1974, the ship did recover a portion of K-129, a mechanical failure was the reason for losing the main section of the sub.

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Power Plant Conversion: To Retrofit Or Rebuild

The coal-fired power plants owned by energy companies are converting from coal to natural gas, and it’s no secret they have been for some time now. This trend is developing behind the scenes and is worthy of discussion. The conversions or ‘retrofits’ seem to be more expensive than to replace the whole operation. Although there are several other factors to consider, the main argument implies that natural gas produces nearly 45% fewer carbon dioxide emissions than coal, and this is the agenda that the government seems to be pushing forward.

A 2010 study stated the following:

The electricity industry can theoretically switch to natural gas either by retrofitting existing coal-fired units to burn natural gas or by closing the coal plants and building new gas-fired plants. Aspen’s research uncovers no instances of coal plant retrofits to natural gas and, in fact, virtually all of the public references to conversion of coal to natural gas or repowering turn out instead to be replacements.

However, natural gas is not without problems and is not a perfect solution, as the so called experts would have you believe. “The radiative forcing of methane is 72 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 20 years) or 25 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 100 years).” Fracking has increased 35% since 2005.

Methane is extremely flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. It is also an asphyxiant and may displace oxygen in an enclosed space. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

Other names for methane:

Carbane
Marsh Gas
Natural Gas
Carbon tetrahydride
Hydrogen carbide