Monday, May 26, 2008

A Memorial Day Riddle.

What's wrong with this statement:

On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.

Here's a hint: Consider the meaning of Memorial.

Ahh Barry...

I bet he'd know where you bury the survivors of a plane crash.

It's a prickly point, but you'd thinks someone would have told Barry just who Memorial day honors and how hard it would be for them to be in the audiance. At least he hit on the "fallen heros" part.

Again from John Hindraker at Powerline.

Happy Memorial Day & Status of Surge

I'd like to thank all the men and women that have served for ensuring our country's very existence not just existential but also in ensuring that freedom is not just a buzzword or Orwellian term.

If you think I exaggerate, then you have no idea of history and I feel almost sorry for you.

Somewhat related here's some clips from General Petraeus when he appeared before Congress last Thursday.

Are we Safer?

John Hinderaker looks at the data and asks the question "Are we safer?"

Depending on how much you follow the news, and, more importantly, how much you read between the lines. The answer may shock you.

His list does omit Iraq and Afgan incidents, but that depends on how you define a successful attack, and terrorists going after American troops is preferable to having them go after American children or civilians.

John Weidner has some thoughts on the Powerline data.
Terrorist attacks are done for a reason. The terrorists hope to get something out of them. The normal reaction in the West is to give them what they want. They want to sow fear, so we become fearful. They want publicity, so our "journalists" hasten to oblige. They want to demonstrate that we are not really dangerous, and so we lash out ineffectually. They want concessions, we run to the negotiating table. They want a break, we give them a truce.

It's like our collective mind has a little Jimmy Carter whispering in our ears.

2002 and 2003 was the first time we responded to terror attacks by doing something they REALLY don't want us to do.

This does mess with the romantic, radical chique that many have with terrorists. Some consider them to be men of action and that because of their passion there must be something to what they think, and that people that are against the US and "big business" can't all be bad.

The people that think this are the same useful idiots that thought that the Soviets were kinder, more just, and the wave of the future.

It always strikes me that people don't consider the impact on international events that a pullout in Iraq would have. Saying that any genocide, growth of terrorism, increase in American impotence, and emboldening of our enemies is Bush's fault...

does not magically make those things go away.

The problems would still be there, and have lasting implications.

Just ask Jimmy Carter.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The one-man gaffe machine

Jake Tapper of ABC comes up with this term about the candidate of Hope and Change and inability to know where he is.

More importantly than Barry's inability to know what city he's in (Sioux Falls / Sioux City, Sunshine / Sunrise same places right?), is the... nuance he has in international relations.

Barry says this about FARC:

"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments," he said in a speech in Miami. "This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and - if need be - strong sanctions. It must not stand."

And remember that Barry wants to meet with Chavez... As Tapper says, "So he will meet with the leader of a country he simultaneously says should be isolated? Huh?" Tapper reports Barry's explanation of this too.

And speaking of Chavez and Barry. Barry has this to say about how Chavez got into power:

Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.

No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.

Interesting argument, it's odd coming from a man that doesn't want better trade relations with Columbia. One would think that helping their country economically would be a way to not be "negligent toward our friends."

However, LGF used trickery, known as history, to find something shocking!
Chavez came to power in 1998. Obviously, Bush and Clinton were in cahoots and formed the vacuum.

The other idea is that Barry is a shockingly inept nitwit that spouts of things without bothering to verify such piddling details as facts.

But he is getting better. As Kimberly Strassel finds out:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden took to the airwaves this week to "help" the rookie Barack Obama out of a foreign-policy jam. Oh sure, admitted Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee had given the "wrong" answer when he said he'd meet unconditionally with leaders of rogue states. But on the upside, the guy "has learned a hell of a lot."

Well, at least it's nice to see that Barry can learn. It'd be more reassuring if he didn't have to learn "a hell of a lot" within months of the election.

Obama '08: He'll only need training wheels for the first year.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Collectivism.

The latest eye-bleeding suggestion from the Hill

Yes... nationalizing the Oil industry is sure to lower prices and help things...

And Hillary shows some more... nuance.
Hopefully, that's being missreported. As it stands, pretty tactless to say the least.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Collectivist Fun!

Ah Chavez, your grinding your country into the ground, but you're getting more personal power.

But it’s not only the big fish who are in the crosshairs: The chocolate factory in Devon, England which produces “Venezuelan Black” chocolate owns a cacao plantation named El Tesoro (The Treasure) in the Venezuelan mountains. Now the plantation and the business are under investigation by the Chavez regime because, in Chavez’s own words, “The production and distribution is done from his factory in Devon, England, and this gentleman is getting rich.”

That really says it all. People out of his control are getting rich, and you can't have any of that.


The telephone company, CANTV, was certain to be a target. The Venezuelan Constitution had already granted Chavez control of the Internet. Having the state own the company ensures that Venezuelans’ communications with the world at large are fully under the watchful eye of the government.

And like the retro collectivist totalitarian (or should I say holistic) you're giving lots of money to your "revolutionary brothers".

Though FARC isn't doing so well lately, despite the anti-Columbian sentiment by some in the US legislature.

StrategyPage has a great post on the implosion of FARC and the extensive links between Chavez and FARC

Victor Davis Hanson also notes this collectivist bent.

Care to guess who said this bit of claptrap?
We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK

Needless to say Hanson has a reply to that

In fact, we had nothing to do with, say, a Zimbabwe going from a successful exporter of food to a net importer, much less with the mass collectivization programs in Asia, Africa, and South America that depressed food production for most of the 1950s-1990s. U.S. technology, open markets, and capitalist practices taught the world that they were quite able to "eat as much as [they] want"—should they use their resources wisely.

As always Victor has other good info.

And to round out the post StrategyPage has info on Zimbabwe's implosion.


NRO has a list of Barry's Gaffes

Most of them are rather funny, and while it does say that he's... sloppy a a politician, it's more interesting for how much the media gives cover for him.

Read the list and imagine if McCain had said such gaffs.
They'd call him senile.

In addition to his gaffs about the language spoken in Afghanistan, the number of US states, and the location of states that border the one he represents...

Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obama’s Dreams from My Father: “Then, there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us” — cluelessly arguing that “tiny countries” with small defense budgets can’t do us harm — and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, “I’ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Irony: Disney says...

James Lileks recounts his family's trip to DisneyWorld

The plot was hugely ironical: Timon and Roomba or whatever the warthog is named were building a resort in the jungle, and damning a stream to create a water feature. Simba showed up to demonstrate the error of their ways. The hilarity of any manifestation of the Disneyverse criticizing an artificial lake to build a resort goes without saying.

It does make sense. Disney wouldn't want anyone else to make their own resort.

The best part is the contrast between the two views on the Hoover Dam.

Here's a hint, the counter-point to preachy doom and gloom and damnnation of civilization: Bill Nye.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ah Achewood

One of the amusing things about Achewood is that all of the main characters have sporadically updating blogs. Which the cartoonist uses as ways to write bits of the character's lives in their own voices to supplement the comic.

Today Cornelius updates with a little slice of life.

Unfortunately Todd*, employing the varied and misfiring talents of his ruined mind, mistook one of my cherished phalaenopses for a heroin-producing opium poppy, and gobbled it right down to the roots. Then, instead of penning a smash album of transcending genius and unifying pathos, he immediately fell over in fits of peristalsis and did a noisy wee on the side of my Coca-Cola.

Achewood is a rare webcomic in that the humor is largly from the characters, despite the insanity of the situations.

On a related note, I've got a good feeling that I've found a source of cards for my friends.

Special treatment

We're now seeing more of those "Obama Rules"

He got angry when people were critical of statements his wife said in political speeches.

Barry being the classy guy he is, has never been critical of Hillary Clinton's spouse's statements...

Oh wait.

Ed Morrissey has more.

If Obama doesn’t want his wife to receive criticism, then he shouldn’t use her as a surrogate on the campaign trail. Whatever she says on the stump at campaign events is fair game for criticism, just as it has been with Bill Clinton. Obama’s camp has unloaded on the former President for statements he made about Hillary’s loss in South Carolina and several other incidents in which they believe Bill played the race card to explain Obama’s success. Bill’s not running for anything this year, but he has made himself a public figure in this primary race, and his statements are also legitimate targets for attack.

I'm not sure looking like a petulant whiner is a good plan.

And here you can see Barry talking about the Soviet Union, Iran, and other bits of diplomacy.

It's an amazing mixture of naiveté, ignorance, and arrogance. To anyone with a passing knowledge of history and knows why the Berlin Wall fell, it's very amusing. Until you realize that this man is a serious contender to become president.

Moving on to other details here's the... nuanced view of Iraq that Barry holds.
Remember how he talked about new politics and transparency? Try to find out his actual plan for Iraq.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

McCain did say this.

He's acutally rather funny. Well he has been on the Daily Show alot.

From LGF

If McCain had said that...

Greg Pollowitz finds an interresting excuse why Barry's losing in Kentucky

"What it says is that I'm not very well known in that part of the country," Obama said. "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle."

Now what's wrong with that statement?

Everyone go back to your elementary geography.

Greg has the result here

That's right, not only is Kentucky closer to Illinois than Arkansas... it borders Illinois.

Barry's a busy man; it's not like he needs to recall the five states that border the one he represents in the Senate. That's a whole 10% of the states... well that depends on if you think there's 50 states in this country.

My point here isn't so much to prove how... sloppy Barry is. He could have been talking about the culture or the three states in question. Though I wonder if he's seen what Southren Illinois is like. He also could have been tired.

But the question you have to ask yourself is, what if McCain had made a slip like that? If he had said Texas was closer to Arizona than Utah?


Showing that we are still lurching into the future! or something.

Double Amputee Sprinter Cleared For Olympic Competition
Oscar Pistorius, whose prostheses were previously considered an unfair advantage, has been given the thumbs up to compete

Via: Glen Reynolds

More math-checking the news.

James Taranto of "Best of the Web Today" pulles out his own calculator on an article about food prices.

America's Insatiable HungerThe Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., brings more dire economic news:

Food inflation hit an 18-year high in April, with grocery prices rising 1.5 percent for the month, the government said Wednesday. Prices rose in every aisle--dairy, breads, meats, beverages, fruits and vegetables. It means $53 more a month to feed a family of four with a typical food budget.

This would mean that before the 1.5% increase, the typical family of four spent $3,533 a month, or a hair under $42,400 a year, on food. No wonder America has an obesity epidemic!

And yes, I checked Taranto's numbers myself.

More reason why you should have a calculator at your side when reading the news.

Food prices are going up, but you're not going to get a good gauge on the magnitude of the increase, not from a publication that doesn't know how percents work, or sloppy enough to not check such things.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rocket Man

Very cool if legit.

You take a set of wings, strap some small rockets on them, strap the whole rig on your back, and you end up with a tiny, boost-enabled, glider.

This thin has some interesting paratrooper potential. Given the size, noise, and potential range it has.

Quote of the Day

From Glen Reynolds

MEMO TO THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN: When somebody condemns appeasement, it doesn't help things to jump up and yell "Hey, he's talking about me!"

This shows how Barr's "special" rules can backfire on him. If he had kept his mouth shut, far fewer people would have assumed Bush was talking about him (since Bush never mentions BHO's name or the election), but thanks to this Hissy-fit...

It's like something out of a bad detective novel.
Detective: It looks like the wealthy widow has been murdered.
Lord Such'nsuch: Well I never! How dare you! I never touched her.

In the words of Glen, "Heh".

Bonus: Rachel Lucas shows us when it is and when it is not okay to use Curious George to make a political point.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama Rules

Victor Davis Hanson has a list of rules that BHO's trying to get the media to play by.

Related to the previous post

6. John McCain can be written off as “losing his bearings” and wanting U.S. troops in Iraq for “100 years.” But to repeat the fact that a Hamas advisor has praised Obama, or that one of his own foreign policy advisors has met with officials of that terrorist organization, is “divisive,” “a distraction,” and the “old politics as usual.” McCain’s fuzzy references to Shiite/Sunni terrorist cooperation are signs of his senility. Obama’s repeated confusion over how many states there are in the Union (48? or is it 58?) is proof of exhaustion and lack of sleep.


What if McCain had said that?

I'm sure Barry's just tired.

But he did say he wants more Arabic Speakers in Afghanistan

"If they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan."

Link has video, and points out that in Afghanistan they speak Dari and Pashto.

Here's another article on Barry's slip.

Again we "hope" it's a slip. Otherwise... he's a total knob, but what are the chances of that?

I'm sure it's just a slip of the tounge, and doesn't show an actual ignorance of the issues. It's like when Barry sliped up and said there were 57 states

As that link notes, Barry's campaign had just said that McCain was "losing his bearings."

So remember whenever Barry or his people say somethign about McCain, Barry has his own memory slips.

Barry's also got his own laundry list of issues.

On the lighter side. Here's Hillary on "It's Time to Call it Quits"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Arr! Pirate Economy.

Talking about economics prof Peter Leeson, Joanna Weiss gives a taste of the social experiment that was piracy in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

To Leeson, pirate democracy was an institution born of necessity. In one successful cruise, a pirate could take home what a merchant sailor earned in 50 years. Yet a business enterprise made up of the violent and lawless was clearly problematic: piracy required common action and mutual trust. And pirates couldn't rely on a government to set the rules. Some think that "without government, where would we be?" Leeson says. "But what pirates really show is, no, it's just common sense. You have an incentive to try to create rules to make society get along. And that's just as important to pirates as it is to anybody else."

His book: The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates, History's Most Notorious Criminals, won't be out until 2009, but here's some more information on it.

Plus a paper "Pirational Choice: The Economics of Infamous Pirate Practices."

Hat tip: The Volokh Conspiracy

Monday, May 12, 2008

BHO on Israel: "this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy."

Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic interviews BHO and wow...

JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.

Emphasis added.

Is this the type of subtle, nuanced , diplomatic judgment we'll get from an Obama presidency? Is this how BHO plans to deal with sensitive and complicated problems? By callinga an important ally an infection?

The rest of the interview is revealing too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Iron Man

I saw Iron Man today.

First the negatives:

Basically, Stark sees that a lot of Stark Industry weapons are in the hands of various terrorists and being used to kill American soldiers. A lot of his weapons. More than just captured from American soldiers. They're all in their nice transport crates and look brand new. Stark is justifiably pissed, and pulls the plug of Stark Industry's weapons division.

My problem is that the movie glosses over just how totally wrong it is. Defense contractors cannot sell weapons like that to just anyone. For that many to be in the hands of terrorists something had to be very, very wrong. Stark did do digging into how these weapons were getting out, but it didn't seem enough, given the gravity of how strange it was for terrorists to get that number of brand-new technology.

Stark could have read the serial numbers on the crates, or such to find out why these weapons had gotten in the hands of terrorists. Later, he does find out how this all happened, and it makes a lot of sense. However, I think the movie was weak in explaining that this was not normal behavior from a Defense Contractor, and in addition to being morally reprehensible, it was also very, VERY illegal. The type of thing where the US Gov, takes your factory and puts you in prison.

It's not just a moral issue for Stark. That much of his product in the hands of terrorists, should have the US government immediately investigating Stark Industries. Especially when his just released, very expensive, and very powerful missile system Jericho was reported and pictured used by terrorists.

Stark was pissed, and freaking out. But he should also have been worried about the feds knocking on the door and closing the company. Then again, this is the Marvel
Universe so there's gonna be some leeway.


It's exactly like if newspapers reported that brand new and factory sealed Raytheon missiles were being used by AQ and the Gov and the public just yawned. Really, Stark would have the inquisition at the door step and an angry mob trying to kill him, or at least a mass of protestors.

It's funny. The movie severely downplayed how bad the selling of weapons to the bad guys is, both in moral and legal terms.

End Update

What I really like is that they made a nice plot-device about the biggest challenge facing powered armor in the real world: power. I felt that was nicely, and amusingly done.

I really enjoyed how the movie focused on the construction of the suit, and the tools Stark used to make the armor were very amusing and cool. The best part was that they were tools. His workshop was very advanced, but it was above all a workshop. His displays were designed around functionality (eye-popping yes but very useful like when he put his arm in a holographic rendering of the arm armor). Similarly, his robots are designed around fabrication.

Also, Stark Industries is a blatant rip-off of Lockheed Martin: the logo, the logo effect, the advertising style, event he campus of the factory. Which was pretty fun.

The sets were also very fun. A lot of work went into putting in little touches that showed that this was a defense firm that had a long history and all the little touches that a real engineer would get. This gives lots and lots of fun Easter eggs.

Like how both Jom Rhodes (strongly hinted at being WarMachine later on) and Stark both wear the MIT Brass Rat. And yes, there is an easter egg after the very end of the credits.

Which brings me to Tony Stark himself. Robert Downey Jr. plays an alcoholic, womanizing, brilliant engineer very very well. It was good that most of the movie had Stark out of his suit, and gave Robert Downey Jr. more time to play the part of Stark.

The plot and action were fairly good. There were the above issues, but events make sense and within the context of the universe it is well done. The ultimate part of the review is this: I'd like to see the sequel, and would not mind getting the DVD of this movie.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Yes We Shall.

Ah Satire.

Hat tip (Hotair &

The Sad Part... the Commander does have more experience, better judgement, and is a... military... veteran. He's also more honest about his past... well other than the mask.

He also ran in 2004 too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More news from Iraq

The head of al-Qaeda in Iraq was captured today.

And something big is happening in Sadr City

Looks like I posted too early. From CNN: Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al
Qaeda in Iraq, has not been captured, a senior U.S. military official told
CNN on Friday.

Reynolds cautions against such haste

New Politcs Part (N+3)

Via the corner a reply from the McCain camp to some of Barry's "new politics"

It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgment and preparedness to be President of the United States.

Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue — from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad – constitute negative, personal attacks.

Fits on the previous reports of "dirty tricks".

Also here's a bit on some attempts to find an equivilant "Pastor" in McCain's past.

Update: Here's a bit more.

Barack Obama accused John McCain of “smearing him” by claiming that Hamas wants Obama to be President. But this isn’t a smear, it is fact. A spokesman for Hamas, you will recall, did endorse Obama.

So now facts are smears.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Politics and Power.

Why the choices for our energy needs are more complicated and unpleasant than simple slogans like: "No Blood for Oil," "We can save the World," and "Change.

Victor Handson lays it out. It's a real shame that none of the three people in the presidential running have anything serious or measured.

Reality makes things troubling.

He has another post today on "What's Wrong with Republicans?"

In short, low taxes, secure borders, moral governance, sober government spending, ethical leadership, exploration and conservation of petroleum, and strong defense is what the American public wants — but those core principles have to be articulated hourly and can't be compromised. In an honest debate, Obama's alternatives to the above would be to turn toward more government, higher taxes, more bureaucracies, more dependence of the individual upon the state, etc. And I can't believe the public wants a prescription that historically simply doesn't work.

I hope Hanson is right about the public knowing that, but when you get down do it. This leftist euro-statist-claptrap is exactly the type of "Change" BHO talks about, whenever you can get him to actually come down to the mortal sphere.

I also hope, oh irony, that McCain and the Republicans do capitalize on this, and actually get their message out.

We'll see.

An rounding it out, an illuminating little article on Kosavo by Totten on Moderate Muslims.

Monday, May 5, 2008

MP3 Player

My old MP3 Player has served me well.

I really enjoyed the aluminum case and sturdy buttons. It was able to take a fair bit of damage. The AAA battery also works really well for changing out a spare battery on the fly (and rechargables).

However it is getting a bit old and worn down. I've had to replace the glass screen cover with a plastic piece I cut to the same size. I had to poke a hole in the battery cover and put in a shaped piece of paper-clip to keep the cover on.

It also only has a 1Gig capacity and does not play the all the audio formats.

So I'll need a new player.

It must have:

Drag and Drop for Files
Be very sturdy and Robust

Must NOT have:

Video Recording

May have:
Video playback
Standard battery power (AAA)

Capacity only looking for a few gigs. Would prefer Flash memory.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"A respectable third-world army"

Bob Owens reports on a city wracked with strife and voilent groups.

Fifty-four shootings in two weekends. Shot-up bodies recovered in groups of three and five. Is this Ramadi? Basra? No.

Welcome to Chicago.

After a recent outbreak of gun-related violence, Mayor Richard Daley is now pushed into supporting a plan by new Police Superintendent Jody Weis to arm 13,000 Chicago police officers with assault rifles. Depending on how many weapons are eventually deployed, this may develop into the largest militarization of police patrol officers in United States history. If the department arms 10,000 of their officers with M4s, the police will have 9,900 more assault rifles in Chicago than the U.S. Marines presently have in Fallujah, Iraq.

So much gun voilence. Maybe up-arming the police is only part of the solution. I'm sure handguns should be banned in Chicago that'll make the streets safer...

Oh wait. They are.

As an idea advanced to the public without a developed plan, the proposal of arming the Chicago PD with military-style M4 carbines should be viewed as a potentially dangerous knee-jerk response to the failure of Chicago government in stopping gang-related violence. Arming rank-and-file police officers with assault-style rifles is an unsettling precedent for American law enforcement, echoing the often-failed police forces of developing nations.

Perhaps instead of up-gunning the police, it is time for Chicago to admit its strict anti-gun laws have failed, and perhaps rescind mandates that only disarm Chicago’s law-abiding citizens in the face of increasing violent criminal activity. Mayor Daley is unlikely to see that logic, however. For him and those like him, guns in the hands of citizens are the problem, not the cure.

And BHO can't be blamed for this, it's not like he did anything to make the situation in his adopted city worse, other than doodle an agreement to even more repressive gun control.

But BHO didn't do anything to make it better...

There I go again, looking at his record and past.

But this increasing the arms of the police does show that for gun control, facts and real solutions are less important than knee-jerk reactions to garner votes and increase control over the citizens.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Finding Aliens?

Via Glen, why it may be best to not find alien life.

What I like is how he actually puts timescale into consideration for stuff like probability of alien life and what it means for humanity's own future.

His "Great Filter" concept is intriguing and something that I, and others of course, have used for scifi. It's a bit long, but if you have some time it's an interesting read.