Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Whiteboards as Science Fiction—Review of Arrival

This is not a negative blog. But when I saw people who should know better praising the movie Arrival, I thought my head would explode.

For this initial part, I’ll say that if you like the star of the movie, Amy Adams, she gives a magnificent performance. If you want to see two hours of her on the big screen going through an array of emotions, you will probably like it.

You just have to ignore the stuff coming out of her mouth or the mouths of the other actors. I am now going to be very skeptical of science fiction movies with A-list actors that are aimed at mainstream audiences. I can sum up this movie with one word: illogical.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Dear Mr. Trump:

With the death of Fidel Castro, a historic opening that may change our part of the world for the foreseeable future will be in your hands.

The Cuban people are already in a state of transition, due to Raul Castro having been the de facto ruler of Cuba for some years, and the more recent Obama initiative of opening relations with that nation.

This is a small window of opportunity that may not be repeated in our lifetimes.

The Cuban people, now deprived of a dictator whom they have known for fifty years, wonder which direction they should go. The fact that Fidel Castro was largely a figurehead for the past several years does not change this.

They have tasted newer freedoms in recent years, and they do not want to go back to the past. They have been ruled by Communism all these decades, they have seen the failure of socialism, and they are sick of it.

The danger is they may want to lurch to the right. Having been used to having a strong man rule over them, they may want another, this time on the extreme right of the political spectrum.

If things go horribly wrong, they will end up being ruled by their equivalent of a Putin.

Now is the time to take diplomatic initiatives. Raul Castro must be told that to the extent he embraces more freedom in his country, to that extent he will be shown more favor by the United States.

Foreign aid is normally counter-productive, because it goes to the foreign governments, not to the people it is intended to help. But in this case, if Raul Castro follows through with true reforms and surrounds himself with comparatively moderate figures in his government, aid should go to him to help stabilize his government.

You have the favor of Cuban-Americans from the way you campaigned. Their older elements will be against showing any favor or giving any aid to the present government, but you can use your political capital, the same way President Nixon did when he went to China, to establish a new relationship with Cuba the same way he did with China, without being accused of being sympathetic to Communism.

Similar opportunities may be found in Venezuela, where their socialist economy is collapsing.

Do not let old enmities stay your hand. I did not vote for either you or your main opponent. But you will have this moment in time to exert your authority and power as president to attempt to prevent either chaos if their government collapses, or a new right-wing dictatorship, a mere ninety miles off America’s shores.


Mark Murata

pubic domain

Monday, November 21, 2016

Veterans Day—Belated

Here are pictures of the Veterans Day flag-raising at my company.

Active-duty employees were in uniform, while veterans wore civilian clothes. 

We were hoping for more of a breeze, but it turned out nice.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

I Voted

Perhaps you’ve heard that there is an election going on in the United States. Here in my state of Washington, all the voting is by mail, which I think is a shame. Here I am putting my ballot in a drop box at the Crossroads Mall, in a suburb of Seattle.

This wasn't to save postage; I just felt like doing it this way.

A man who was holding a child dropped his ballot off right before me. I think I delayed someone who came right after me by my taking a picture. We might have just happened to converge at the same time, since I don't know how popular this option is.

If we have a longshot outcome I’m hoping for, I’ll let you know how I voted. 


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