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When seated across the table from a living Barbie and stuck for topics, by all means go for collegiate bullshit. “But [you] seems to be all about the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation,” I say. “And the beauty that you embody is very Western. American, even.”

Valeria grows pensive, which in her case means rolling her eyes slightly upward without changing anything else about her face. “I wouldn’t say so. Everyone wants a slim figure. Everyone gets breasts done. Everyone fixes up their face if it’s not ideal, you know? Everyone strives for the golden mean. It’s global now.”

“But that’s a relatively new thing,” I reply. “The ideal of beauty used to be different.”

“That’s because of the race-mixing.”

If I had a glass of multi-chutney carrot-juice mix before me, I’d do a bright orange spit take.

“For example, a Russian marries an Armenian,” Valeria elaborates helpfully. “They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad’s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it’s all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this. I love the Nordic image myself. I have white skin; I am a Nordic type—perhaps a little Eastern Baltic, but closer to Nordic.”

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1) is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System. The radar is mounted on a fifth generation CS-50 twin-hulled semi-submersible drilling rig.

The radar has been described by Lt. Gen Trey Obering (director of MDA) as being able to track an object the size of a baseball over San Francisco in California from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, approximately 2,900 miles (4,700 km) away. The radar will guide land-based missiles from Alaska and California, as well as in-theatre assets.

The SBX failed during a flight test on January 31, 2010, designated FTG-06. The test was a simulation of a North Korean or Iranian missile launch. The test failure arose from two factors, the first being that algorithms in the SBX radar software which are designed to filter out extraneous information from the target scene were left disengaged for the test, and the second was a mechanical failure in a thruster on the kill vehicle.

In recent years since its deployment the SBX-1 has been the target of controversy and accusations on YouTube and blogs in particular as a device used for initiating earthquakes and controlling the weather. One example cites the device emits microwaves which excite water molecules redirecting atmospheric moisture to other parts of the globe. Others in local communities claim the radar interferes with radio and television signals and Wi-Fi in their city when brought to port for repair. SBX-1 is often very intimidating to locals given it’s massive size when brought to port.

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I want you to know I love you, even if you’ve experimented with JavaScript or started wooing venture capitalists. I’m just worried. The world of start-ups is troubling and irresistible. You’ve probably heard these funny phrases being tossed around at school: click-through rates, all-hands meetings, UX design and back end servers. You and your friends may have talked about changing lives with code. Yacht parties with Ashton Kutcher! IPOs! Medieval-themed weddings! Webbys galore!

I realize it’s awkward, discussing these adult matters with your father, but have your buddies asked you to join a start-up? Be honest—Dad knows the HTML. Seriously, have you already started a start-up in the attic? I see you moved the family computer up there.