Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
The lowdown is that everything happens for a reason. If we choose not to risk ourselves for righteousness in whatever circumstance we're placed into then the end result will still happen, but to our own demise. Our choices both define who we are and are ascertained from our predefined disposition.
The holiday also has several theologically formulated side plots: Good versus Evil, What goes around comes around - specifically that those who live by the sword die by the sword, There is such a thing as universal beauty, Humble obedience to God is often mistaken for human arrogance - but only to those already saturated with arrogance, and Laws can't be broken but may be trumped by higher laws.
There are so many nuggets of wisdom that come from this holiday that it's ironic to consider it a fool's holiday. Shrouded in costumes, groggers, silly pranks, cookies, candy, plays, goofy songs and lots of wine, this holiday is really a beautiful message in masquerade.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Here's a quote from Wikipedia:
"Liberalism asserts that a person's life belongs only to them, and no other person has the right to force their own ideals that life must be lived. Rather, only the individual involved can make such decision, and whatever decision they make should be respected."
Anyone who promotes pro-choice for abortion, but doesn't promote pro-choice for suicide is the worst kind of hypocrite since they assert having the judgmental right reserved for God. Really - what's the difference? In both cases a person is making a choice that will affect the rest of the world based off of what they view is best in a highly emotional situation.
*The Flippant Sarcastic Conclusion*
Liberal citizens of Austin should stop complaining and conservative citizens should find another place to live if that liberal lifestyle and mindset bothers them so much.
*The More Reasonable Conclusion*
Be one sided and not two-faced. If suicide doesn't make sense, how can abortions? They're both 99.9% of the time done in acts of anguish, fear of the unknown future that lies ahead, and desire to forgo the responsibility of life that comes packaged with the joy of living it.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Another take on Joe Stack
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." - Thoreau
The issue had gone beyond just money and had become spiritual to him. I don't mean spiritual in a religious sense, but that his experience with the government had systematically torn his soul.
"Lack of money is the root of all evil." - George Bernard Shaw
Some people are saying he should have sold his airplane and house to pay off the IRS. But they seem to miss a few facts in Joe's story. His continual encounters with the IRS and with bad accountants were life-sapping. Those who call him a hero are likely the same ones who have had bad encounters with the IRS. Those who call him insane are likely people who are filled with anger for other political or social reasons. Most of America, as I see in the posts from various sources, are merely sympathetic. They are sad that this happened, but also disappointed at the situation that drove him to this point.
Those I know, myself included, have no problems with giving money to the government when the money is accounted for and well spent. As my local city council discovered, however, is that when the money isn't budged and there's no accountability then people refuse to write a blank check to the same government. I've voted for taxes and voted against them. I'm not bipartisan, I'm nonpartisan. And in that mindset, I agree with Joe that it doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican, the tax code should be simplified and parts of the law, such as those harming small business owners as he mentioned in section "D", should be tossed out.
In a simpler tax system more money will be passing hands and each time it does so is another opportunity for the government to make money. In other words, I think the government would make more money by simplifying the tax laws and the tax laws would, therefore, also be more fair to all citizens rich and poor alike. However, as the saying goes:
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." - Miguel de Cervantes
Which means that if the government can consolidate all money to a few key businesses then they have a better way to ensure it gets its taxes. But the risk of that, as we're starting to see, is that the government starts working for the businesses rather than the people.
Protecting big businesses will protect the government's income, which is likely the root cause of the trillions of dollars of debt we recently accrued. And that leads us back to Joe Stack. He knew what he wanted to do, but the government kept holding him back. He noticed that the government didn't treat everyone equally and that through the facade there really is a caste system in place. Instead of the government making an example out of him, he apparently turned it around to make an example out of himself and the government.
He didn't catch his house on fire with his family inside as some people are saying. His wife and daughter drove up to the house after it had already gone up in flames.
Even his attack at the IRS building didn't appear to be an attempt to take anyone's life but his own. He didn't talk about killing anyone in his manifesto. Nor did he talk about bringing anyone down with him as Eric Harris did in the Columbine massacre.
It appears that Joe had felt berated and violated by the government and wanted to make others understand the damage that can happen when a government stops protecting the people it was built to serve. Joe's letter mixes anger with a type of martyrdom; he would have compared himself to Dr. Alfred Lanning in the movie iRobot where he felt he had to die in a high-profile accident to make the nation wake up in time for the imminent tragedy. He apparently felt there was no other way.
"If one truly has lost hope, one would not be on hand to say so." - Eric Bentley
In closing, my heart goes out to those injured and even to Joe's family. There's more to life than money, but the government has forgotten that money is a spiritual influence. Someone traded his time - his life - to earn that money. I think that's the message Joe intended to spread.
Friday, January 22, 2010
iPhone App Sites - Reviews, Price Charts and More
- iPhone apps that alert you when something is on sale.
- The apps:
- BargainBin With Push!
- I tend to favor this one because of its expandable/collapsible interface. It's somewhat clean and offers some nice features with its push technology. You can have the application alert you when a certain app you've been waiting to go on sale does so. Sometimes it's slow to use and there can be enough lag between its information updates that the app changes price in the store before you know about it.
- AppMiner (Save $$)
- This is a popular choice amongst these type of apps. It provides the app information and the first screenshot when you click on the app list. I find it a tad bit faster than BargainBin and it shows some apps that BargainBin misses.
- PandoraBox (Download Paid Apps for Free, now with Push)
- This app contains some other nice features missing in the other two. Namely, you can choose which categories to omit from its search. I don't care much for sports and the developers who write sports apps abuse the system by flooding the store, so I like to remove them from the list. This app also finds apps that the others miss.
- Free Apps - Find Paid Applications That Are On Sale - Powered By AppTrakr
- Haven't used this one yet. It's only been around for a couple of weeks.
- This is my biggest peeve and it always happens with apps that I could care less about. A developer decides to write a program that shows sports scores, but instead of writing one application that has two-dozen in-app add ons, he releases two-dozen distinct programs. Not only is this inefficient, it's inconsiderate and unimaginative. This affects our sale apps by bumping other good apps off the list and making you scroll several pages to see what's available.
- One of the great things these sale apps provide is access to the knowledge of what's free. The apps that have proven themselves are usually only free for a day or two while introductory apps or apps that aren't selling might go free for more extended periods of time.
- iTunes store API changes
- It's happened at least once - Apple decided to change the way they provide information for these apps. More than one of them quit working for a few days. One of the three top sale apps usually get updated to work again within a day... but you won't know which one until it happens, which is why it's a good idea to have the top three installed.
- iTunes store price change discrepencies
- Occasionally a developer sets the price of his app to blitz these search engines then quickly raises up the price. This bait and switch process doesn't happen often, but you should be aware. Furthermore, these sale apps usually cache old data and could be showing yesterday's sale price. Just be aware of that when you go to the actual iTunes store to make the purchase.
- Why have all three?
- They share about 95% of the same product which means about 5% of the apps differ between them. I'll find an app or two, across each day, in each program that doesn't appear in the others. Also, as mentioned above, if Apple changes their API you might not be able to use any of these apps at all until one of their developers post an update, which could take anywhere from one day to one week.
- The apps:
- iPhone websites that provide lists of products on sale.
- 148 Apps
- They have an aesthetically pleasing site that's filled with icons, screen shots, reviews, lists of price drops and other niceties.
- The clean interface and features on this site make it my favorite. I particularly like the App Activity box on each applications information page. This information is used to make purchase decisions in a timely manner to get the best price - I'll explain more later.
- This site offers a clean web-based search engine that ties to the iTunes app store. This is an area that iTunes lacks. Anyone who has searched for an application that fulfilled a purpose, say - "time management", on the iTunes app would know how valuable a good search engine can be. In this example the top 20 apps and 70% of the top 100 from an iTunes search returns games. In contrast, none of the top 20 apps and only 5% of the top 100 from UQuery are useless colorful drivel.
- Other sites.
- Websites are popping up all the time to help app developers gain exposure and users get good deals. free app a day, iPhone Application List, iPhone Promo Codes and Apptism are a few. Not all of these sites offer lists of price reduction, but they nearly all have some form of review board.
- Getting into the mind of the developer - when apps go on sale.
- Developers are after one of three things: money, fame and pride - but always pride.
- It costs $100 a year to be a part of the iPhone app developer program so that your apps may appear in the store. Pride usually comes to play regardless of whether money and fame are the goal. Developers pride themselves in coming up with original ideas, or with a well executed design, or a pleasant interface. That means they want feedback. Positive feedback to stroke an ego, and constructive feedback to become better developers (hopefully). Keep that in mind and be respectful when you download an app that you're drawn to reuse (especially if it was given away for free).
- When new updates come out that fix terrible problems.
- If an application is decent but has a glaring technical issue (such as crashing the iPhone) it will suddenly drop in rating. Purchasers of the product wail and complain even if the app were free when they got it. A common practice is for the developer to quickly come out with a fix, but this isn't always possible before enough bad reviews tarnishes his reputation. As a result, he fixes that problem but needs to garner a new set of better reviews. To do this the developer usually drops the price to attract new customers. It's not uncommon to even see the app go out for free for 24 hours.
- When a product isn't selling well.
- If an app isn't doing well in sales, it could be because it's too expensive. That's business 101. Reduce the price or give it away for free for a day or two and after you garner a few dozen new users, put the new fixed price somewhere between the original and the sale price. This will allow the app to build some exposure. For paid apps that only go on sale, it even means a few dollars that wouldn't have otherwise come that way.
- When a new product is introduced in a highly competitive market.
- Supply and demand. Why would someone want "product A" at twice the price of "product B" that does practically the same thing? Walmart did it and so do developers - they lowball each other to gain market share then when the competition is slow they bring up the price.
- Milestone Dates and Holidays
- Special milestones such as anniversaries and holidays strike a special emotional chord which might make a developer feel charitable. Keep a close eye on the app store during special events such as Black Friday, Earth Day and the like.
- A word about taxes.
- They exist even in the iTunes store. It's based off of your profile's mailing address. Mine is around 3 or 4% but I've heard some states don't have it.
- How I decide on what apps to buy: Remember that AppShopper App Activity box feature I raved about? Here's where you use it.
- Existing Features
- If it does what I want, it's a no-brainer. Developers are people and even with the best of intentions there's a risk of promising a feature but not delivering. If you've been watching the developer's release notes and see a good track record, buy the app as soon as you hear mention of the feature you're aiming for. Otherwise, wait. Some awesome new app might come out tomorrow that blows this other out of the water.
- Frequency of updates
- If a developer updates frequently - say once a month or more - and it's an app that's been out for more than half a year, you've got a well supported app. If you see a developer that updates two or three times one month then skips a few months before applying another stream of updates, you still have a well supported app. If the developer updated the app one time or less and it's been out there for more than four months it's not well supported - check the reviews to see if people are complaining about unresolved bugs.
- Last update date
- If the app was just recently updated with features, prices could go up. Most developers don't raise the price but some do. If, however, the app was updated last month and activity or ranking is starting to taper off then the developer just might cut a break in the weeks ahead.
- Last update features
- Features are nice, but if they focus more on features than on fixes it could make an unstable product that you can't use. Look for a good mix of both. Lack of features shows a lack of understanding their market... there's always something to enhance.
- Price and Popularity Timeline
- Some of the app information pages - particularly of the more popular ones - at the AppShopper website contain a chart that shows how popular an app is in sales in both their category and overall. It also shows tick marks that identify updates and price changes. If its popularity is sliding down after being up for a while be prepared for a sale to happen.
- Reviews that rate the app low (1 to 3 stars)
- You're fishing for constructive criticism, not mindless bashing. Some people are just fat fingered or, well... a few fries short of a happy meal. When you see something constructive, check the version number of the app that was referenced. If it was fixed in a later version the developer is listening. That's a good sign.
- Other apps the developer has made (is he too spread out?)
- Most of the apps in the iTunes store are written by single white men who have limited time on their hands. Use your common sense to figure out if it's a company (like Electronic Arts) or a one-man business (like TLA Systems Ltd). If the developer is writing more than a few apps, he won't be able to maintain them all with updates and new features.
- What products did I purchase and how much did I pay and why?
- The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - $3.99 (regularly $7.99)
- This 1990's adventure game has some of the best humor and play experience of any out there. Anyone who's played it knows what it means to fight like a dairy farmer.
- Zombieville USA - $1.99
- I enjoyed playing the lite version enough to pay for the full version. People are always picking my brain for real, so I thought having a virtual life would be entertaining.
- Ramp Champ - Voyage Pack - $0.99
- During the Christmas Season the wonderful Iconfactory gave away their $1.99 Ramp Champ game for free. I figured it would only be fair to patronize them by spending $1.99 in add-ons. This one allows you to hit Pirates and Aliens with skee balls. Good times!
- Scrabble - $2.99 (regularly $4.99)
- Electronic Arts had a great sale at the end of last year. This is one of the apps they reduced. I like scrabble and the Trivia Pursuit app was poorly supported (it seemed to charge users for useless add-ons) so I only bought this one.
- PhotoBuddy - $1.99
- I had dozens of photography utility apps to choose from. I wanted something that helped me calculate DOF, provide sunrise and sunset times and provide some guidelines when I'm in full manual mode. This one proved to be the most promising for the money. The other apps cost way too much more for the few extra features they offered. I enjoy the purchase so far.
- Pano - $1.99 (regularly $2.99)
- I like to use Hugin on the Mac or PC, but couldn't resist a tool that would let me play around with it on the iPhone. I've heard it works better on the first generation iPhones because they all have fixed focus while the newer second and third generation 3G iPhones have auto-focus, which could throw off the clarity of the stitching.
- AutoStitch Panorama - $1.99
- This program differs from Pano. Where Pano is akin to a Cinerama theater, AutoStitch is like an iMax. You can stitch multiple images to make a larger, more detailed flat scene. Although Hugin can also do this on the desktop computers, I don't expect Pano or AutoStitch to handle both types of stitching.
- 2Do - $6.99
- This app shines like a polished shoe on a sunny day. There are features lacking, but the developer(s) on this project listen to users ideas and the app is well supported. I really didn't like how each revision meant another dollar mark-up. Within the month that I had my iTunes credit this app went up twice in price, meaning if I jumped in on it sooner I could have gotten it for $4.99 instead of $6.99. If they build in the features I want, it will be worth it. If they don't then it will be a lesson learned. It's a little gamble, but here's my reasoning. This developer group has a particular pricing style. They introduce an app at a price they think it will sell well for. If it doesn't sell like they expect then the price is lowered a dollar or two. Then with each update where features are added, the price goes up or stays the same depending on how extensive the features were and how many cumulative features have been added since the last price hike. Only if the app really stagnates does the price go back down. This app has been a hot item for over a month now, meaning it's not going to drop in popularity for some time, and that keeps the developers fat and happy. As a developer, myself, I think their efforts are worthy of being rewarded, though I still wish I paid less for it - but it's still worth the price.
- Ramp Champ - Adventure Pack - $0.99
- This is the last app/add-on I could buy because of the iTunes store taxes. It was too easy to solve because I've been playing one of their hardest packs. Still haven't solved all the points with the "Star Struck" level from their Adventure Pack. My advice would be to get easier packs, like this one, first and solve them before buying the harder Adventure Pack. It's still fun, though!
BTW - if you want to make cool links from your blog that point to the iTunes store, this is where I did mine: http://apple.com/itunes/linkmaker/
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Why I don't write poetry anymore
some piece of myself whittled away
by my own hands in a moment.
What a shame, they might say.
Something in me demands;
it makes demands for
There's passion and hope,
rage and remorse,
then grief when it's lost
but the feelings will expire.
I hold onto things
old coupons that have no worth
a few cards from a misplaced deck
wishing for the time I lost.
Where's the meaning without the worth?
Time will whittle me away anyway.
Why not give myself, even in pieces.
Each of us - meaningless unless given away.
But life is an offer,
a limited time
a time that will expire.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The commercial was met with mixed criticism from viewers. Some found the happy golden dancing people and their intentionally obnoxious singing so annoying that they associated the Folgers brand with that annoyance rather than the intended way to get around it. Others met the commercial with optimism and found the song humorous and memorable. Each chorus was met with an increase of volume and the commercial song even featured a bridge with a rising key-change: both musical qualities emphasize the rising sun rays getting stronger and more invasive. It's a beautiful example of music-psychology.
As for the video, imagine Ned Flanders dancing around, playing the kazoo in a blond wig, basking in morning sunlight as the Sun's rays force through the curtains of Homer's window. It's quite frankly what every parent with young children have to face on a daily basis.
Sadly, the http://toleratemornings.com/ website and all its goodness is no more, and it doesn't ever last on YouTube for more than a few months before being removed. I think Folgers insistence of wiping the commercial from existence on all the video boards shows some backward thinking. After all, this is a commercial that they payed television stations to air and these fans are posting it up on the internet for people to watch without Folgers having to pay another dime. It's a good commercial and they should have made more. Maybe showing the ramifications of a dry dessert that can be overcome by the dark brown richness from a hot cup of Folgers coffee.
Well... here are the lyrics to the best of my knowledge:
[Think Jimmy Durante]
Hah cha cha chahhh
Hah cha cha chahhh
Hello World, we're shining so bright.
A new day's here, it's really dynamite.
Feel the love. Savor the door.
There's a rainbow for each girl and boy.
On this [clap clap] happy morning! (Rise and shine!)
[clap clap] happy morning! (We're doin' fine!)
Get up, get out of bed. You can sleep when you are dead.
Partied hard; stayed up real late.
It's time for work and you can hardly wait.
Spread the sunshine inside of you.
'Cause it's a [clap clap] happy morning! (Happy day!)
[clap clap] happy morning! (It's nice today!)
Wake up you sleepy head. You can sleep when you are dead ...
You can sleep when you are ... [very bad Yamaha recorder instrumental]
La la la laaa
La la la laaa
[key change - rises like the sun]
Chahhhhh! Happy morning. (Rise and shine!)
Happy morning. (It's wake-up time!)
Wake up you sleepy head, you can sleep when you are ...
Happy morning. (Happy day!)
Happy morning. (Feel right today!)
Wake up you sleepy head ... [fade]
I loved the song so much that I made it into a ringtone (or more appropriately, a wake-up alarm on my iPhone). The audio had to be stripped out of the commercial then carefully amplified and cut to produce the result. Audacity was used for the editing. I can't remember what was used to pull the audio out of the video file.
Happy Morning Short Edit.m4r for the iPhone.
happy_morning_short_edit.mp3 for other devices.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Science's marriage to law
We have irrefutable laws of math, physics, chemistry and biology from which all other genres of science stem. How is it, then, that any so-called "science" could exist without laws?
Founding fathers of scientific principles believed strongly in a law-giving God. If the God that created the universe provided laws for the most obscure segments, such as the human soul, then He would certainly also provide laws for the more obvious parts of nature. Believing that there is a solid law is what led Louis Pasteur to also believe there is no such thing as spontaneous generation. This belief guided him into being the founder of modern day microbiology against the competition of his pagan predecessors and coleagues who supported an untested belief that spontaneous generation acts as the mechanism for evolution.
Galileo had plenty of difficulties because of the Catholic Church, but he addressed his difficulties as coming from people's blindness both in what the Bible said and in what the Bible didn't say. He's quoted as saying "The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go." But he held that observation reveals an order and law in the heavens that supports scripture, and that it's dangerous to blindly accept what politicians tell people to accept as truth since the "truth" of politics can change.
Kelvin, one of the founders of modern day physics and entreated other scientists to design an absolute thermometric scale. His understanding of absolute properties stemmed from his understanding of God: "Do not be afraid of being free thinkers. If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion." From this, we infer that he considered a belief in God, and hence religion, to have a foundation that branches out to science and for science to be the process of gathering evidence of God. This only leads to one conclusion: "I cannot admit that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being, but in the creating and directing Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief."
I'll close with some thoughts from Isaac Newton. He defined science as the "frame of the world" that isn't random or complex, but as simple as the other laws handed down by God. "It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion. Therefore ... they [that] would understand the frame of the world must endeavor to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity." In other words, the key to the perfect works of a master craftsman is to have perfect adherance to simple rules. Since God's scripture outlines simple rules for living, all other aspects of life must also adhere to simple rules.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A couple of days ago, Parenting.com released an article listing 25 iPhone Apps for Kids. Most are paid-for apps, though some are free.
Although it's understandable that they would make you sift through 25 pages to see the entire list, I found it quite annoying and took the liberty of constructing a simplified list below. Furthermore, some of the links they provided were flat-out wrong or don't work and at least one of the apps they suggested was pulled from the iTunes store.
The prices mentioned were taken from the iTunes store. Some prices changed since they posted their article.
Click on the icon to go to the iTunes store.
App 1 - Pianist by Moo Cow Music, $3.99
App 2 - Scribble Lite by Zintin, Free
App 3 - iPlayPhone by Ryan Neudorf, $0.99
App 4 - Wooo! Button by TightApps, Free
App 5 - Airport Mania: First Flight Lite by Reflexive Entertainment, Free
App 6 - Toddler Teasers Shapes by Toddler Teasers, Free
App 7 - Jirbo Match : Child Development Edition by Jirbo, Inc, $1.99
App 8 - Penguin Whacker by workavoidance.net, Free
App 9 - Toddler Flashcards by iTot Apps, $0.99
App 10 - The Pool by MarkJ.net (webapp), Free
Point your iPhone Safari Browser to http://www.markj.net/pool/
App 11 - Snowman 3D by G.A.M.E.S., $0.99
App 12 - Alphabet Animals - Talking ABC Cards for Kids by Innovative Language Learning, LLC, $0.99
App 13 - Reversi by Kiss The Machine, $1.99
App 14 - Checkers Free by Optime Software, Free
App 15 - FreshWater Aquarium, $0.99
App 16 - Mad Libs Lite by Penguin Group USA, Free
App 17 - Push The Button by Mi Mundo iPhone SL, Free
App 18 - iSign Alphabet by USA-Links.com, Free
Point your iPhone Safari Browser to http://www.usa-links.com/isign/
App 19 - Peanut Butter Jelly Time - Not Available In The U.S.
Just go to the YouTube app and search for "Peanut Butter Jelly Time". Select the one from AlbinoBlackSheep.
App 20 - WordSearch Kids by AFKSoft, $0.99
App 21 - Tic Tac Toe Free by Optime Software, Free
App 22 - Infinite Maze by Exact Magic Software, LLC, $0.99
App 23 - Wacky Safari by Earblast, $0.99
App 24 - Pegs by Samir, Free
App 25 - Kids Bingo by MathSlice (webapp), Free
Point your iPhone Safari Browser to http://m.mathslice.com
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - The Red Horse
Despite what we might have been taught in school, the United States wasn't entirely born in 1776. We were still at war 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed, signifying the end of the American Revolutionary War. The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified by most states in 1788. We didn't have a President until 1789. In 1790 the last of the 13 original colonies, Rhode Island, ratified the Constitution. This is why the following chart shows America starting in 1790.
The antagonizing acts of the British went on for ten years from 1764 to 1774, spurring revolts, outcries and vexation across the North American territory. From that point a congress convened and war began against the British, lasting from 1775 to 1781 with the Declaration of Independence written in 1776.
This chart that follows was gathered from a blog that's been spread around the internet by Chuck Baldwin titled "U.S. To Break Up Soon?"
Assyria (859-612 B.C.): a 247-year reign.
Persia (538-330 B.C.): a 208-year reign.
Greece (331-100 B.C.): a 231-year reign.
The Roman Republic (260-27 B.C.): a 233-year reign.
The Roman Empire (27 B.C.-180 A.D.): a 207-year reign.
The Arab Empire (634-880 A.D.): a 246-year reign.
The Mameluke Empire (1250-1517 A.D.): a 267-year reign.
The Ottoman Empire (1320-1570 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
Spain (1500-1750 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
Romanov Russia (1682-1916 A.D.): a 234-year reign.
Great Britain (1700-1950 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
The USA (1790-2009 A.D.): 219 years and counting.
According to this chart, most major world empires in history only lasted an average of 238 years. That means we're statistically due for a political collapse.
According to the Time article
Hoover admits that revolutions may be good or bad, "but St. John's horseman had no good purpose ... We do not allow our imaginations to extend to the idea that St. John was prophesying Communism, even though one is tempted, partly because of the prophetic statement that power was given to the horseman 'to take peace from the world.' "
In 1954, when this article had been written, China had just finished turning over to a Communist government in 1959 and was considered more of a casualty of Communism than a superpower. The main threats to the U.S. were Russia and Japan. Korea was considered a middle domino between China and Japan, hence the Korean war, which ended in 1953. America and its media were hopeful like an arrogant teenage boy, thinking our nation was impervious to death.
Machiavellian politics seem to always ring true. Over time many factors worked at decaying the United States from the inside out, and that greed went as far as the people of the republic. Debt spending went to record highs and in an emotional climax the President was allowed to sign many of the freedoms that represented our sovereignty over in a "Patriot" act. Our current President claimed that we needed to increase debt spending to support our nation. The conclusion is obvious. People are angry with the government. I've been hearing it for years. Anti-American and pro-communistic ideas have been feed to me and my peers all through school and college. Stories of Robin Hood were twisted into a communist slant rather than a true representation of a revolt that happened in Ireland centuries ago.
If China were to call their debt on us, we'd have to concede and pay restitution. Other countries would want their piece of the American soil, too. In a feeble move, the President would have to pull our armed forces out of the Middle East and bring them back to native soil to fight. Many Americans would become civilian minute-men to fight for our President and our country. Other Americans would become revolutionaries and fight for a new order. While we're out of the Middle East, a revolutionary war breaks out there. Israel somehow gains back the holy mound in Jerusalem. Ultimately the Red Horse wins.
From what I understand, Russia is supposed to gain incredible power over the nations south of it, west of it and of some special land elsewhere. Eventually the world powers in Europe, possibly Greece, rise up a leader who mocks God. We know the drill ... 666 and more tribulation. Thus begins the period of the abomination of desolation.
Now comes the question on what to do when the New World Order arises. Fight politically, not physically, and accept captivity into a new Babylon. According to scripture the Jews believed they could get away from their terrible behavior without consequences... they believed they had a right to fight to stay on their land while Babylon conquered them. Even though prophets warned them to just go and not resist, many of them fought and died anyway. If God's chosen ones couldn't stave off their punishment, what makes us think we can do better? Still - before world-wide revolution, there will be the four governments. Before that will be world-wide economic collapse. According to Scripture the end is near but we've got a few years to go.