Book Review: The Hidden Truth

“The Hidden Truth” by Hans G. SchantzThis is a masterpiece of alternative history techno-thriller science fiction. It is rich in detail, full of interesting characters who interact and develop as the story unfolds, sound in the technical details which intersect with our world, insightful about science, technology, economics, government and the agenda of the “progressive” movement, and plausible in its presentation of the vast, ruthless, and shadowy conspiracy which lies under the surface of its world. And, above all, it is charming—these are characters you’d like to meet, even some of the villains because you want understand what motivates them.

The protagonist and narrator is a high school junior (senior later in the tale), son of an electrical engineer who owns his own electrical contracting business, married to a chemist, daughter of one of the most wealthy and influential families in their region of Tennessee, against the wishes of her parents. (We never learn the narrator’s name until the last page of the novel, so I suppose it would be a spoiler if I mentioned it here, so I won’t, even if it makes this review somewhat awkward.) Our young narrator wants to become a scientist, and his father not only encourages him in his pursuit, but guides him toward learning on his own by reading the original works of great scientists who actually made fundamental discoveries rather than “suffering through the cleaned-up and dumbed-down version you get from your teachers and textbooks.” His world is not ours: Al Gore, who won the 2000 U.S. presidential election, was killed in the 2001-09-11 attacks on the White House and Capitol, and President Lieberman pushed through the “Preserving our Planet’s Future Act”, popularly known as the “Gore Tax”, in his memory, and its tax on carbon emissions is predictably shackling the economy.... [Read More]


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New Year’s Customs

The biggest holiday of the year is New Year in Japan. It outranks Christmas by a lot. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning their houses and preparing Osechi. The holiday last from the first of January to the third.

Japanese want to start the New Year right so that means get the house in order. Not a light cleaning for guests but a thorough cleaning. Some people I have heard change their light bulbs at this time of year.... [Read More]


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Pretentious Words

Recently I have been thinking how pretentious these words are when related to a web site.

  1. Banned [Organ music of foreboding doom.]
  2. Suspended (It reminds one of school, doesn’t it?)
  3. Redacted (Who uses redacted in normal conversation? And why not call yourself a Redactor instead of an Editor?)
  4. Code of Conduct (John Walker pointed this out to me early on as not the way to go.)
  5. Moderated (Update from Mike)

Can you add to the list of pretentious words?... [Read More]


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Book Review: Order to Kill

“Order to Kill” by Kyle MillsThis is the second novel in the Mitch Rapp saga written by Kyle Mills, who took over the franchise after the death of Vince Flynn, its creator. In the first novel by Mills, The Survivor, he picked up the story of the last Vince Flynn installment, The Last Manright where it left off and seemed to effortlessly assume the voice of Vince Flynn and his sense for the character of Mitch Rapp. This was a most promising beginning, which augured well for further Mitch Rapp adventures.

In this, the fifteenth novel in the Mitch Rapp series (Flynn’s first novel, Term Limits, is set in the same world and shares characters with the Mitch Rapp series, but Rapp does not appear in it, so it isn’t considered a Rapp novel), Mills steps out of the shadow of Vince Flynn’s legacy and takes Rapp and the story line into new territory. The result is…mixed.... [Read More]


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TOTD 2017-12-29: Marching with Raised Fists

A year or two after emigrating, she happened to be in Paris on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of her country (Czechoslovakia).  A protest march had been scheduled, and she felt driven to take part.  Fists raised high, the young Frenchmen shouted out slogans condemning  Soviet imperialism. She liked the slogans, but to her surprise she  found herself unable to shout along with them. She lasted only a few minutes in the parade.

When she told her French friends about it, they were amazed. “You mean you don’t want to fight the occupation of your country?”  She would have liked to tell them that behind Communism, Fascism, behind all occupations and invasions lurks a more basic, pervasive evil and that the image of that evil was a parade of people marching with raised fists and shouting identical syllables in unison. But she knew she would never be able to make them understand. Embarrassed, she changed the subject.... [Read More]


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Isms Over Ers

It is important to keep this site civil and keeping with our principle of not attacking people it is best to go after the Isms and not the Ers.  This has been said in many ways. Such as: Play the ball not the man. Hate the sin not the sinner.  It is a subtle difference but an important difference.

Here are some examples (picked at random) of the Okay followed by the Not Okay.... [Read More]


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Knowledge Base: Spoiler Warnings

When you’re writing a post, for example a book or movie review, and you don’t want to give away plot or ending spoilers to those who haven’t yet encountered the story, you can wrap the spoilers in the [spoiler] and [/spoiler] shortcodes.  These will cause the text they enclose to be hidden unless the user explicitly displays it by clicking on the title of the spoiler box.  You can specify any title you wish with the “title=” attribute in the [

shortcode.

For example, if you write in your post:... [Read More]

Knowledge Base: Ratburger Twitter Feed

Ratburger.org now has an experimental Twitter feed.  Every time a new article is posted on the main site (but not items in groups), a Tweet will be sent to the Ratburger Twitter feed, whose URL is “https://twitter.com/Ratburger_org”).  You can follow these tweets from your own Twitter account by following account Ratburger_org on Twitter.


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Did you think “Dunkirk” is Art?

Dunkirk (2017) is written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. It is a highly professional production in every way.  The music, by Hans Zimmer, is amazing, and heightens the tension throughout the film. He uses the auditory illusion of a Shepard tone to great effect: brilliant and beautiful! This film is the creation of its director, and is Art! No doubt it will appear in the Oscars. It won’t be surprising if it wins the Best Picture award.

Taken as a fictional recreation of the evacuation of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk, in France, from May 26 to June 4, 1940, Dunkirk allows us to imagine how it must have been for the people involved. We experience it from the beach at Dunkirk, on the sea in the large ships and little ships, and in the air from the cockpit of a Spitfire. We feel the tension: the boredom of waiting; the terror of being bombed; the dangers on the sea and in the air. We see how ordinary people were affected by the events. As an imagined sliver of time in that place, this is an amazing film. It does have the feeling of being a documentary. The direction could perhaps have been tightened up at times as it even felt a little boring. On the other hand, as has been said, war has its times of boredom. Without the music to convey tension, would Dunkirk have seemed a little dull?... [Read More]


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