I need your input, please

More specifically, I need the input of those who’ve read some or all of the books in my “Maxwell Saga” military science fiction series.  I’ve been pondering the future of this series, and I’ve come up with some ideas:  but they may not satisfy my readers, so I’m giving you the chance to weigh in. When I began the Maxwell Saga, I was a novice fiction writer.  It was my first series of books, and I had a lot of learning to do.  I still think it’s a pretty good series overall, and obviously many of you do too, as

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Inflation and the “burrito index”

I’ve written often enough about inflation here, most recently last month.  It’s a serious and growing threat, particularly because the government persistently and deliberately understates the actual rate of inflation, so that it doesn’t have to pay out so much in inflation-linked indices.  On that same date, I embedded the video below, in which Ed Butowski explains why he created the Chapwood Index to give a more accurate, more realistic understanding of the real rate of inflation. Now, Charles Hugh Smith (whom we’ve met in these pages before) updates his “Burrito Index” measurement of inflation. Long-time readers may recall the

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Another cost that’s killing US military budgets

Next Big Future has an interesting article comparing purchase and operating costs of US Air Force and US Navy combat aircraft.  Among its features was this graphic (click it for a larger view). If you do a little basic arithmetic, you find that the cost of buying, say, an F-35 (as cited in the article) will be matched by its operating costs within less than half the aircraft’s expected service lifespan – less, if inflation drives up those operating costs (as it almost certainly will).  Therefore, even after the aircraft have been bought, their ever higher operating costs will continue

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I think they’ve left out something . . .

I had to shake my head when reading an article headlined: Birth Control Pills Recalled Due To Glitch That Could Cause Pregnancy Um . . . the pills may be packaged wrongly, as the article says, but that won’t cause pregnancy.  As far as I know, a man – or, at the very least, the male reproductive apparatus and its biological byproducts – is also a necessary part of the process. Peter

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This one’s for Phlegmmy

The lovely Phlegmmy is quite the connoisseur of ladies’ shoes.  When I saw this image over at Wirecutter’s place, I couldn’t resist borrowing it to show her here. Louboutins they ain’t;  Fluevogs they’re definitely not;  but they have a certain je ne sais quoi, wouldn’t you say?  Note the nail claw polish matching the shoe leather.  I do appreciate the extra effort.  Not paltry poultry, those . . . Peter EDITED TO ADD: Reader L. L. just e-mailed me, saying “Hey! Cluck-me shoes!” Grrroooooaaaannn . . .

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Is criminal violence in America’s largest cities being deliberately under-reported?

I’m more and more getting the impression that it is.  It’s not just that police departments are under political pressure to under-report crime, or wrongly classify more serious offenses under less serious codes:  it’s that the news media, nominally independent, are nevertheless deliberately under-reporting the crime situation as well, if not completely ignoring it, in blatant support of an ideological agenda. An excellent example was provided in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend.  The news media were largely silent about an epidemic of mob violence in one of the city’s premier shopping districts, particularly because it apparently involved “youths” of

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Doofus Of The Day #1,012

Today’s award goes to the person who asked this question concerning the volcanic eruptions currently going on in Hawaii. The USGS responded to one Twitter user who asked, “Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents? Assuming you had a long enough stick, that is? Or would the resulting marshmallows be poisonous?” . . . The USGS responded: Erm… we’re going to have to say no, that’s not safe. (Please don’t try!) If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 or H2S, they would taste BAD. And if you add sulfuric acid (in vog, for example) to sugar, you

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Is stress passed on to our children through genetic inheritance?

A fascinating article in the Economist suggests that it might be. THE effects of child abuse can last a lifetime. Neglected or abused children have a higher risk of developing all sorts of ailments as adults, including mental illnesses such as depression but also physical ones like cancer and stroke. In fact, the effects may last even longer. Emerging evidence suggests that the consequences of mistreatment in childhood may persist down the generations, affecting a victim’s children or grand-children, even if they have experienced no abuse themselves. Exactly how this happens is not well understood. Rigorous experiments on human subjects

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A new book cover, computer vision syndrome, and lots of hard work

Writing a military science fiction trilogy as a whole, publishing the books within a few weeks of each other, is turning out to be a whole lot more work than I’d bargained for!  Not only does one have to format and prepare each book for publication, but one has to ensure a common structure, “look and feel”, etc. across all three volumes – otherwise the trilogy becomes an exercise in frustration for readers, who get used to one format in the first book, then have to suddenly adapt to a new one in the next volume.  That doesn’t make for

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“The warrior’s tale”

Daniel Greenberg reminds us of the reality underlying Memorial Day. The warrior’s tale tells each generation that they stand on the wall against a hostile world. And that the wall is made not of stones, but of their virtues. Their courage, their integrity and their craft.  Theirs is the wall and they are the wall– and if they should fail, then it will fail. And the land and the people will be swept away. What happens to a people who forget the warrior’s tale and stop telling it around their campfires? Worse , what of a people who are taught

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