March 31, 2004

Memo from Seargeant Mom

From Sgt. Strykers Daily Briefing (a wonderful Military family blog) comes Sgt. Mom's Memo: bq. From: Sgt. Mom To: Members of the American Moslem Community Re: Choosing Between Loyalties bq. 1. Let me make myself perfectly clear--- I do not intend to impugn the patriotism or the loyalty of those citizens of this country who happen to be of the Moslem faith, or to encourage the assumption that origination in certain foreign countries equates to an enemy alien. bq. 2. However, it has become abundantly clear over the previous 20 years that elements of that faith do not view America and all its’ works and all its’ ways with anything like favor. The mass-murder of 3,000 people in the streets of our own cities in a single day have made that manifest and unmistakable to all but the most deluded. bq. 3. It is also unmistakable that those who continue to plot the continued mass-murder of the citizenry of this country and others camouflage their intentions by hiding within the community of co-religionists. It is also clear that these jihadists are funded and encouraged by substantial elements, are offered shelter when needed, justification after the fact for atrocities of every sort--- and at the very least are enabled by the larger Moslem community, out of malice, solidarity or simply indifference. It goes on for another couple of paragraphs. The comments are worth reading as well...
Posted by DaveH at 11:59 PM

Two Hot Topics

The Junkyard Blog has two articles that are worthy of notice: #1 - Rwanda bq. Bill Clinton knew about it, but did nothing to stop it. bq. Richard Clarke knew about it, and actively thwarted attempts to do anything about it, fearing blowback would harm President Clinton. It's a pity he didn't apply that standard to his own skewed screed against President Bush. bq. I guess America's first black president couldn't get worked up enough about 800,000 actual black people getting slaughtered to do more than talk, but he could get worked up enough about a much smaller genocide in which the victims were white to conduct an outside-the-UN bombing campaign to stop it (that would be the Kosovo affair, in case you're wondering). #2 - White "Air America" hurts Black Radio Talent bq. This is priceless: Al Franken & Co's new "Air America" liberal talk network will probably not challenge Rush, Hannity and the rest of the conservative talk titans for cultural dominance, but it will result in job losses for black radio talent.
Posted by DaveH at 11:54 PM

Some information

Go Read The Belmont Club Now: bq. But since it is Al Qaeda's policy to precipitate civil war in Iraq and America's goal to hold it together, the Sunnis in Fallujah will be safe from massive reprisal for the present, though the perpetrators of this recent outrage are living out their last hours. Yet even if the challenge can be met without destroying Fallujah it is uncertain whether it can be accomplished without destroying Fallujah's culture. In a wider sense the ritual dragging and meathook hangings, the passing out of sweets and cold drinks to celebrate the death of the infidel are things not confined to Sunni triangle. The West Bank festivities after September 11, the famous scene of Palestinian youths holding out their bloodstained hands in almost sexual ecstasy as they tear a Jew limb from limb, or troops pursuing Islamic rebels on a Philippine island seemingly littered with detached heads poses an existential problem for Western democracy. They are the 21st century equivalents of finding the crematoriums of Auschwitz and Dachau or being forced to watch, with unaverted eyes, the wholesale extermination of a Chinese city under the banner of the Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. They leave us wondering whether there are ideas on earth which cannot claim the protection of tolerance and democratic space. This is just one paragraph. You have a lot more to read. Go now here and read.
Posted by DaveH at 11:44 PM

A question...

Charles at Little Green Footballs asks the important question, the one that hopefully we have all been thinking ourselves -- to whit: bq. Is This Going To Stand? I’m just going to ask one simple question. bq. Why hasn’t the United States already launched an overwhelmingly armed operation to recover the remains of our citizens murdered today in Fallujah, and punish those responsible? bq. Their body parts are still hanging from that goddamned bridge. bq. What the hell is wrong with us? He also offers an update -- the NY Times published an account and the last two sentences really stuck in my craw: bq. At sunset, nurses from a nearby hospital tried to take the bodies away. bq. Men with guns threatened to kill the nurses. The nurses left. The bodies remained. Falluja Delenda Est
Posted by DaveH at 11:24 PM

Condi's Moment

The Vodka Pundit links to this editorial in today's National Review Online Like I said the other day, Condi is going to open a can of whoop-ass on Clarke's tender little fundament. From the article: bq. The archetypal liberal is the guy who, every morning, drops a dollar in the lap of the homeless man camped out in front of his apartment building and who, every evening, blames conservatives for the fact that there's a homeless man camped out in front of his apartment building. In other words, liberals don't think things through; they opt for gestures, knee-jerk reactions that feel good, without the slightest consideration of long-term consequences. bq. Such was the case in their demand that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testify, under oath and in public, before the 9/11 Commission. Now their demand has been met. Testify she will, even though there's no compelling reason for her to do so; indeed, she's already testified — albeit not under oath — for four hours in private session before the commission. There's not a shred of evidence she lied. And more: bq. Not only will Rice make short work of Clarke, she will emerge from the hearing with conservatives flinging themselves at her feet, begging her to run for president in 2008. (There's already a website devoted to her potential candidacy even though she's said, on multiple occasions, she has no interest in the office.) And it would serve liberals right if she did decide to run, for Rice would be their worst nightmare. She would win the women's vote outright, peel away half the black vote, and set back the Democratic party for a generation. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 8:30 PM

Pictures from the J. F. Kerry Campaign Trail

Found some wonderful pictures from the John F*$# Kerry Presidential campaign trail over on Allah's site. Here is one -- there are 20 more on this site... Heh... kerry.gif
Posted by DaveH at 7:59 PM

The Emperor responds to Falluja

A wonderful response to the terrorist killings in Falluja comes from Emperor Misha at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. bq. OK, this "Hearts and Minds" Shit Has Gone on for Long Enough... Time to go back to basics with these swine. Emperor Misha quotes from this Yahoo/Reuters article: bq. A vengeful crowd of cheering Iraqis dragged the burned and mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of Falluja Wednesday after killing them in a vehicle ambush. The Emperor weighs in: bq. Now let's show those Moon God worshiping fucks just how we deal with scum murdering our people. You kill one of ours, we kill a hundred of yours. Kindly spare me the "investigation" and "justice" phase here, because those sand nits have no grasp of either. It would be like trying to teach a pig to sing, except you'd be more likely to succeed with the pig. Read it - the comments left by his readers are excellent. I hope to hell that Bush deals with this the right way - go back to Shock and Awe.
Posted by DaveH at 7:44 PM

Nations Pledge Billions to Revive Afghanistan

From the NY Times, good news for the people of Afghanistan: bq. Nations from around the world have pledged $4.4 billion in aid and low-cost loans to help stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan next year, with the United States accounting for about half of the contributions so far, American officials said Wednesday. bq. At an international donors conference here, 65 delegations representing more than 50 nations assembled a financial package that Afghan and Bush administration officials said would total $8.2 billion over the next three years. Administration officials were elated with the outcome, which they said would help allow the Kabul government to pay salaries to its workers, prepare for national elections in September and continue to rebuild the country's infrastructure. Very excellent news - there is no word on who the other nations are except that the conference was co-sponsored by the US, Japan and Germany (Germany? cool!) who each pledged about $400 million. It will be interesting to see just how much France and Russia walk the walk - after all, France has all the Oil-for-Food billions still sitting in it's largest bank.
Posted by DaveH at 7:23 PM

Terrorism in Falluja

When my wife Jennifer read the accounts in Falluja this afternoon, she emailed me with a wonderful comment. Sure - give them their own state :


These are the actions of uncivilized swine, terrorists of the worst order, people who have lost touch with the very core of humanity, savages. Someone like this in the USA would be considered a sociopath. Animals don't do this kind of behavior. A link in LGF points to Getty Archive photos of the event. Warning, these images are very explicit and graphic.
Posted by DaveH at 6:09 PM

More on Gas Prices

Couple of things about the current price of gas. From Knowledge Problem comes the observation that the prices are not the highest they have been. You need to adjust for inflation: bq. Gas prices may seem high to consumers now, but that is largely because they have been relatively low in recent years. Considered over 30 years -- since the 1973 OPEC embargo -- today's pump prices are about average, Borenstein said. bq. According to the AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline Tuesday was $1.75, a record. In California, it was $2.13, a nickel less than the March 6 record. bq. If the price were adjusted for inflation, a gallon in California still would be cheaper than in 1980: $2.41 in today's dollars. And Gasoline is still cheaper per gallon than bottled water.
Posted by DaveH at 12:36 PM

Bill Whittle has a new one up!

Essayist Bill Whittle has another one up on his website: bq. Chapter Two: It's a trap So here we are at Point “A,” otherwise known as “the present.” And all of us want to get to Point “B,” a land of freedom and safety and peace, where our children can play out in the flowers with the bunnies and the baby deer. bq. The arguing starts when we begin to plot a course from Point A to Point B. bq. It reflects no great credit on us as a species when we come to the sorry realization that most people would rather just sit in the chartroom and argue about the maps than actually navigate to safety. This tendency to believe social theory over practical observation has cost the lives of hundreds and hundreds of millions of people – every one as unique as that wonderful and charming you. And more: bq. There was a time when intellectual meant someone who uses reason and intellect. Today, people who call themselves intellectuals are in a form of mental death spiral: they search for, and find, those index cards that support their world view, and clutch little red books like rosaries in the face of all external evidence. They are ruled by appeals to authority. Their self-image and sense of emotional well-being trumps any and all objective evidence to the contrary. bq. How many students today believe what they believe because they met someone who knew a guy whose girlfriend turned him on to an article by Noam Chomsky? Noam Chomsky predicted, in his even, intellectual, authoritarian, tenured manner, that if the US went to war in Afghanistan after 9/11 the result would be 3 million Afghan casualties. How many of these students who worship St. Noam independently ask themselves why he has, to date, come up 2,999,500 bodies short? Noam is not wrong by a fact of one or two; Noam is not wrong by an order of magnitude. Noam is not wrong by a factor of a hundred to one. Noam is wrong by more than three orders of magnitude. Noam is wrong by a factor of 6,000 to one. Noam says the reef is ten feet off the port bow; when in fact it is more than three miles away. That’s six thousand to one. Noam says the ocean is six thousand feet deep when in fact the keel has been ripped out and is sitting on the sandbar back yonder: that’s a 6,000-to-one error. Extrapolating this accuracy rate, if Noam writes 6,000 pages on the evil of the United States, how many pages of truth might there by in such a twenty-volume set? And one more: bq. Intellectualism, as it is practiced today, is a trap. bq. It is not a palatial hall of great minds looking for answers and then testing them in the real world; it is a basement in your parents house filled with lazy and filthy hippies eating your leftovers and drinking the last of your milk. Intellectualism is certainly not the same as intelligence, and more and more, it is becoming antithetical to intelligence. When well-off people who call themselves intellectuals drive their SUV's to march in support of Marxism, you can see the chasm between intellectualism and intelligence in full flower. When elitists who fancy themselves brighter and more compassionate than the rest of us choose to support the Taliban, with its stoning of women and execution of homosexuals in football stadiums before mandatory audiences, over a representative democracy with unparalleled structural protections of minorities and freedoms of expression, then self-styled intellectuals have abandoned intelligence altogether, as well as morality, reason, compassion and indeed sanity. Read the entire thing - it's well worth the 10 minutes it will take.
Posted by DaveH at 12:12 PM

World's largest Diesel Engine

On a "World's Largest" kick this morning. Here from Metafilter is a link to the world's largest diesel engine. bq. The Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine is the most powerful and most efficient prime-mover in the world today. The Aioi Works of Japan's Diesel United, Ltd built the first engines and is where some of these pictures were taken. bq. It is available in 6 through 14 cylinder versions, all are inline engines. These engines were designed primarily for very large container ships. Ship owners like a single engine/single propeller design and the new generation of larger container ships needed a bigger engine to propel them. bq. The cylinder bore is just under 38" and the stroke is just over 98". Each cylinder displaces 111,143 cubic inches (1820 liters) and produces 7780 horsepower. Total displacement comes out to 1,556,002 cubic inches (25,480 liters) for the fourteen cylinder version.
Posted by DaveH at 9:33 AM

Worlds largest Photo-montage

From BoingBoing comes this link to the worlds largest Photo-montage. bq. The photo-montage - titled "The Whole of Greece in One Smile" - comprises 16,609 photos of the Greek community that cover a surface area of over 5,000 square feet. The montage, situated in the Athens Syntagma Square opposite the Parliament of Greece, was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photo-montage ever created, breaking the previous record - also held by Kodak - of 12,012 photos displayed at an exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2003. Kodak got the Guinness Book of Records to certify that this is the largest. 5,000 sq. ft. is huge - 70 feet on each side if it's a square.
Posted by DaveH at 9:19 AM

Developments in China, Taiwan and Viet Nam

A group of islands, the Spratly's are potentially rich in fish, gas and oil and have an ownership that is at best disputed. While China (who claims ownership) is fussing with Taiwan, trying to get that economic powerhouse to come gracefully home (NOT), Viet Nam (who claims ownership) just announced that it will be sending boatloads of tourists over there to look at the wildlife... Background from CIA World Factbook bq. The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits. They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. About 50 islands are occupied by China (about 450 soldiers), Malaysia (70-90), the Philippines (about 100), and Vietnam (about 1,500). Brunei is a claimant but has no outposts. From Channel News Asia: bq. Vietnam has reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Spratly islands, one day after announcing it would start sending tourists to the disputed islands in the South China Sea. bq. "Vietnam has time and time again asserted its indisputable sovereignty over both Truong Sa (Spratley) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes," foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung was quoted as saying in state media. bq. A Vietnamese official said Wednesday local tourists could visit the Spratlys if an inaugural trip planned for mid-April was a success. OK now... Let's hear from China - from the Borneo Bulletin: bq. A lingering dispute between China and Vietnam flared up Thursday over Vietnamese plans to send tourists to the Spratly archipelago, as both sides claimed sovereignty over the potentially oil-rich islands. bq. China warned Vietnam against sending boatloads of tourists to the South China Sea islands, known in Chinese as the Nansha, saying it would be violating Chinese territorial integrity. And the Taiwanese chime in here in the Vietnam New Agency: bq. Recently, Taiwan conducted unusual action at the Ban Than Reef located in the northern part of the Truong Sa Islands. At 7 am on March 23, 2004, a Taiwanese speed boat carrying eight people, four containers of black paint and two square wooden sheets traveled from the Ba Binh Island under Taiwan's control to the Ban Than Reef. After working on measurement, at 1.15 pm the same day, they erected four concrete stilts each 2.5m high and spaced 3m apart to form a square. Then, the boat sped back to the Ba Binh Island, leaving the eight people on the Ban Than Reef. So far, construction of a house on those stilts has already been completed and more construction work is continuing on the coral reef. So the Taiwanese are building a building on concrete stilts over a reef. This will be interesting to keep watching - back burner item definitely, more a case of three nations jostling and pushing for territory without wanting to draw attention to themselves...
Posted by DaveH at 12:08 AM

March 30, 2004

Odd computer accessory

A gel filled wrist rest mousepad. Go here to see.
Posted by DaveH at 11:16 PM

But Wait, There's More!

From Engadget comes the link to a Yahoo/Reuters story on the Popeil family and their sales pitches and Tim Samuelson who has a museum of their products. Americana at its finest. Samuelson's collection of more than 150 devices are part of a two-month exhibition on display through mid-May at Chicago's Cultural Center - that would be fun to see.
Posted by DaveH at 11:07 PM

A French person gets it!

From Little Green Footballs comes a link to this amazing Editorial Op-Ed in the Washington Times: Cherry picking a couple of choice quotes: bq. I can no longer tolerate descriptions of the monster responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of wounded as a "spiritual leader," a poor "paralytic in a wheelchair." bq. I can no longer tolerate the electoral victories of Islamists in Algeria, Turkey or France. I can no longer tolerate the indifference of Muslim leaders and the majority of Muslims to the suffering of non-Muslims. I can no longer tolerate their affected statements or their perpetual self-victimization. bq. I can no longer tolerate those who hate liberty but take every advantage of it. Pulls no punches. I loved the last one.
Posted by DaveH at 10:55 PM

More dirty laundry at the U.N.

Hat tip to Instaman for this link to a story about other problems at the United Nations... From the Canada Free Press comes this story about a black-box recorder and an airline crash that killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. bq. Why is the "black box" flight data recorder from a downed 1994 aircraft, sent from Rwanda, in a UN file cabinet? And more: bq. Why is it that no one is joining the dots between the discovery of the black box and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s refusal to send badly needed troops to Rwanda at the request of former Canadian General Romeo Daillaire? bq. The recorder, unearthed from a locked UN file cabinet, is believed to be the one from the fatal 1994 plane crash that killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. The crash led to large-scale African massacres, which the UN estimated, killed more than 600,000 people. Suspicion pointed to Rwanda’s current president, Paul Kagame, who was said to have ordered the plane shot down. bq. Proof against Kagame suspicion was never found. More details in the article. This is another example of the UN failing to act. The Canadian troops who were there were pleading to the UN for more support but didn't get it. 600,000 people died cruelly. The League of Nations was disbanded when it was found to be ineffective and corrupt. History is overdue to repeat itself.
Posted by DaveH at 10:33 PM


From the NY Times: bq. The White House said today that it will allow President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to testify in public and under oath before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, reversing its position that she was prevented from doing so by executive privilege. The poor people who asked for this probably don't know what kinds of whoop-ass that Dr. Rice will be able to open on them. She pulls no punches, is incredibly smart and will deliver their asses to them on a platter. Clarke and the whole 9/11 commission have been lurching around in the dark "discovering" obvious facts and ignoring peoples performance -- their efforts to determine who did what seem... well... slanted in a way that doesn't seem to favor the current administration. The problem for them is that the facts available in online transcripts from a few years ago as well as online newspaper articles seem to back up the continuing story that Clinton seriously dropped the ball, that Clarke was incompetent in his job and when Bush needed someone who could do the job and ushered Clarke out of office, his reaction was to pitch a tell-all hissy fit. Unfortunately the content of his character is not up to the allegations at hand. One person who gets is Senator Bill Frist. As I had written about here, he recently laid into Clarke's probity. From todays NY Times article, Senator Frist says: bq. Senator Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said today he was pleased that Ms. Rice would have an "opportunity" to testify. bq. "I am delighted that the legal hurdles have now been addressed by the White House and that she will have the opportunity to come forward with what I know will be a very powerful testimony and one that will set the record straight," he said in a brief exchange with reporters on Capitol Hill. This will be a fun one to watch!
Posted by DaveH at 10:21 PM

Saddam's Gold

Want to see a fraction of the fortune that Saddam was trying to escape with? gold.jpg Thanks to Curmudgeonly and Skeptical we have this link to Ernie's House of Whoopass and a tanker truck full of gold... Each bar is 33 pounds.
Posted by DaveH at 4:25 PM

Fort Freedom

Found this on No Watermelons. Fort Freedom was an energy BBS (Bulletin Board System - online message system predating the internet). This site has the entire contents of the BBS available online. The BBS was run by Professor Petr Beckmann who passed away a few years ago. He was also founder of the "Access to Energy" newsletter and a lot of that information can be found on this website. To quote from the Access to Energy site: bq. Access to Energy is a pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise monthly newsletter packed with information and comment on science, technology and energy and on those who would restrict your access to it. It gives you answers based on facts with which to dispel myths. Good stuff!
Posted by DaveH at 4:07 PM

Love Canal not as bad as previously thought

I had written about the Love Canal here before but now Reason Magazine has an excellent article on it. The Canal was abandoned and a chemical company had used it as a dump. The Reason article and some of its links give a new insight into the culpability of the company though... The complaint was the noxious chemicals that oozed up whenever the ground was disturbed. People were saying that it was causing birth defects and cancers and finally, Jimmy Carter declared the area to be a disaster area and it became an EPA Superfund Site. The Reason article reports on a study that followed up on the people who used to live there and found some interesting medical data: bq. Since 1997, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has been trying to "fully measure" the allegedly "profound and devastating effects" of Love Canal by conducting a comprehensive series of follow up studies of former Love Canal residents. The NYSDOH has been able to enroll 96 percent of the former residents who had participated in earlier studies. bq. The studies are ongoing, but preliminary results indicate that Love Canal's effects have fortunately been somewhat less than "devastating." The April 2002 NYSDOH Love Canal newsletter reports, "Based on information so far, Love Canal residents have the same life expectancy and cancer incidence rates as upstate New York and Niagara County residents. We do have enough statistical power in the overall findings to feel confident in them." To reiterate, the study found: "Canal residents are at no greater risk of death or cancer than upstate New York or Niagara County residents."
Posted by DaveH at 10:18 AM

We are on the map!!!

From the Politburo Diktat comes this new revised map of Bloggahland and the city of Synth is up with the Analysts... Cool! Check the map out - each of the placenames is clickable and there is lots of good blogging out there.
Posted by DaveH at 9:51 AM

Recent Islamofascist news

Wretchard over at the Belmont Club has a summary of post-Madrid Islamic terrorist activity. bq. Interesting Times Sky News has reported that a cell of Islamic terrorists has been rolled up in Britain. They were planning on detonating an ammonium nitrate bomb. And: bq. Meanwhile, Philippine authorities say they have just broken up a "Madrid-level" attack. An Abu Sayaf cell, including a person suspected of beheading American hostage Guillermo Sobero, is now in custody. Wretchard cites another couple of examples and then offers this analysis: bq. It also suggests that Al Qaeda has lost its organic capability to strike and must now rely on affiliates. The quality of the new affiliated Holy Warriors is markedly lower than the cadre led by Mohammed Atta. Here too, the analogy with the kamikazes may be apt. By 1945, the superlative aces of the Kido Butai had all been killed or crippled. Forced by logistical strangulation to cut back on training, the bogeys over Okinawa were largely piloted by novices who could only fly straight and level. And: bq. So far, the post-Madrid attacks have been a tactical disaster for the Islamists. Unless they have been extremely unlucky, something is going horribly wrong for their networks. I'm only excerpting a much larger article. It's worth your time to visit the site. The article after this one is good too. This one talks about the Arab League Summit that was canceled. Interesting things are happening over there...
Posted by DaveH at 9:42 AM

Heinz distances itself from Kerry

This is great. From Yahoo/AP: bq. H.J. Heinz Co. has launched an election-year campaign of its own, this one to distance the ketchup maker from what is shaping up to be an acrimonious presidential race. bq. The company has sent nearly 50 letters to radio and television talk shows nationwide to tamp down chatter on the airwaves and Internet suggesting revenue from ketchup sales will benefit the campaign of pending Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry A spokesman for the company said: bq. "We haven't been involved in politics since Morris the Cat ran for president in 1988" — when the company ran a spoof campaign with Morris, the face of Heinz 9 Lives cat food, as the finicky candidate. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 9:33 AM

March 29, 2004

Nigeria turns away Polio Vaccine

More dark news from Africa from the Christian Science Monitor bq. Kano is the center of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, but its government refuses to participate in an international inoculation program, claiming that the vaccines are contaminated. bq. Both sides are keen to play down the political and religious aspects of the dispute, but some of the strongest opposition to the vaccination campaign has come from Islamic leaders who say the alleged contamination is part of a Western plot to make Muslims infertile. The resulting deadlock highlights an isolationist tendency in parts of the ruling northern elite. bq. "Anything where it would mean joining the international community, they don't want it at all," says a Kano-based imam from western Nigeria who asks not to be named. "This is not a new thing for them; they have been doing it a long time. All the vaccines are contaminated -- yeah. I see a big bio-lab checking the vials as they come in... Welcome to the 9th century my friend. Nasty brutish and short. And the Imams themselves? You know, the ones with the computers and cell phones and shopping trips to Switzerland for the wives? They refused the vaccine as well? Don't think so...
Posted by DaveH at 11:40 PM

Angola turns away GM food relief

From the NY Times: bq. A United Nations effort to feed nearly two million hungry Angolans, most of them former war refugees, is imperiled because Angola's government plans to outlaw imports of genetically modified cereals, officials of the World Food Program here said Monday. bq. Most food assistance from the United States, which at last count provided more than three-quarters of United Nations aid to Angola, consists of genetically modified corn and other crops that apparently would be barred under the new rules. bq. That includes 19,000 tons of genetically modified American corn now bound for an Angolan port. The corn — roughly a month's supply for the United Nations feeding program in Angola — must be cleared for unloading by Wednesday, said Mike Sackett, the World Food Program's director for southern Africa. Hey dudes -- your people are starving and you are playing politics with the relief? Buncha idjits!
Posted by DaveH at 11:32 PM

Starbucks and T-Mobile

Wireless technology is wonderful stuff but some people are not "getting it" Case in point as reported by Ars Technica: bq. Wireless hotspots are the Big Thing right now. One much-ballyhooed tie-in was Starbucks and T-Mobile's partnership to bring for-pay wireless hotspots to U.S. Starbucks locations. You can sip your Triple Red-Eye (Venti Coffee of the Day with three shots of Espresso for the caffeine-impaired) while paying by the hour (or monthly) to surf the 'Net and read e-mail. And how much are they making? bq. Deutsche Telekom reported gross earnings of US$1.4 million per month for their Hotspots in the US, up from US$400,000 in January 2003. bq. When one does the math, the numbers are not at all impressive: about US$13 per Hotspot, per day or roughly US$400 per month Considering that these sites are hosted on a T1 (about $400/month) and then there is the ancillary equipment lease charges and support costs... A number of local coffeehouses have been providing free access using a much cheaper DSL connection and SOHO designed equipment (routers and transmitters). Same basic performance except for some latency issues and a total hardware cost of about $300 and monthly fee of about $60. Guess who gets the laptops...
Posted by DaveH at 11:20 PM

Thai PM sends daughter to work at McD's

From the Canadian site myTELUS bq. Thai leader sends daughter to McDonald's to learn the value of hard work If Paetongtarn Shinawatra thought she could keep a low profile Monday on her first day working at McDonald's, her hopes were dashed when her father, Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, dropped by for a takeaway. bq. Thaksin, who became one of Thailand's richest men by investing in telecommunications, let the phalanx of reporters trailing him know that even in the family of a billionaire, the younger generation must learn the value of money and hard work. bq. "Thai kids, when they finish school, they don't know how to work," said Thaksin, as his giggly daughter stood by. Paetongtarn, 17, will be earning the equivalent of 80 cents Cdn per hour in her part-time job. Very cool - it would be so easy to let her slide along in wealth and privilege. Better that she gets a good view of how the world really is. After all: bq. When Thaksin studied for his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Eastern Kentucky University in the United States, he worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. And when he pursued a doctorate at Sam Houston State University in Texas in the late 1970s, his wife Potjaman helped pay the bills with a job at Burger King. Runs in the family...
Posted by DaveH at 10:44 PM

U.N.'s Credibility At Breaking Point

Sheesh - it's dogpile on the UN night... This entry comes from InterPress Service News Agency and opens with this: bq. The United Nations' continued engagement in Iraq -- largely under U.S. pressure -- is not only testing the credibility of the world body but also taking a toll on its Secretariat staff in New York. bq. An investigation into security lapses in the deaths of 22 international employees in the bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad last August triggered the resignation Monday of the second highest ranking official in the Secretariat, the firing of the U.N. security coordinator, and the forced resignation of the humanitarian coordinator for Iraq. And this: bq. The crisis over the security failures in the occupied nation comes on top of a growing scandal over the systematic abuse of the U.N.'s multi-billion-dollar oil-for-food programme there. bq. The Secretariat has been accused of turning a blind eye to possible kickbacks whilst the former Saddam Hussein government allegedly pocketed over 10 billion dollars in smuggled oil revenues and illicit proceeds -- all under U.N. supervision. And this wonderful quote from James E. Jennings, president of Conscience International: bq. ''Whatever his gifts as a diplomat, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has allowed the giants to play ninepins with the future of world peace without ever raising his voice above a whisper, while the very heart and soul of the institution was gutted,'' he said. The cracks in the shell are getting wider and light is starting to shine in on the festering pile within... More, faster, now please!
Posted by DaveH at 10:39 PM

UN Oil for Food scandal - coverage from New Zealand

Now the New Zealand Herald is giving the story coverage. In an article from this weekend, reporter Roger Franklin says: bq. Shams, scams and Kofi Annan Almost a year ago, when kitchen workers at United Nations headquarters walked off the job in a dispute over holiday pay, the cream of the world's diplomats knew just what to do. They thronged to the site's five unattended restaurants and stole everything that wasn't nailed down. And more recently: bq. This time it isn't cutlery, baked hams and wine-cellar locks that have gone missing, but at least US$11 billion ($17 billion), depending on who is doing the counting - or rather, the guessing, since the UN has been curiously disinclined to investigate where all that money went. bq. Whatever the sum involved, it vanished from the UN-administered Iraq Oil For Food programme, and unlike last year's petty looting, those at the centre of suspicion aren't lowly bureaucrats but a tight cluster of high-up insiders centred on the office, family and inner circle of Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself. And more -- talking about opponents to the Iraq war: bq. Remember how opponents of the Iraq War kept citing the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children perishing for want of medicines? Well, Oil For Food was supposed to guarantee that those supplies arrived, but apparently few did. Went into Saddam's palaces -- that is plain to see. Roger also talks about this little incident: bq. ...and the UN has other matters that it would much prefer to talk about, starting with a $1.2 billion ($1.86 billion) interest-free loan from Washington to renovate its decaying New York headquarters. George Bush rejected the request, saying the UN could have the money at the standard interest rate now being charged to American home-buyers. Heh... Plain spoken - I like that in a president.
Posted by DaveH at 10:25 PM

Speech Accent Archive

Neat find by 101-280 The Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University has 306 people from different parts of the planett reading the same english text into a Quicktime(tm) (sigh...) recording. This link also points to a bunch of other cool language, accent and dialect references.
Posted by DaveH at 10:11 PM

When should we stop supporting Israel?

Wonderful essay at Victor Davis Hanson's blog bq. Well, we should no longer support Israel, when… Mr. Sharon suspends all elections and plans a decade of unquestioned rule. bq. Mr. Sharon suspends all investigation about fiscal impropriety as his family members spend millions of Israeli aid money in Paris. bq. All Israeli television and newspapers are censored by the Likud party. bq. Israeli hit teams enter the West Bank with the precise intention of targeting and blowing up Arab women and children. bq. Preteen Israeli children are apprehended with bombs under their shirts on their way to the West Bank to murder Palestinian families. bq. Israeli crowds rush into the street to dip their hands into the blood of their dead and march en masse chanting mass murder to the Palestinians. bq. Rabbis give public sermons in which they characterize Palestinians as the children of pigs and monkeys. bq. Israeli school textbooks state that Arabs engage in blood sacrifice and ritual murders. bq. Mainstream Israeli politicians, without public rebuke, call for the destruction of Palestinians on the West Bank and the end to Arab society there. It goes on and on and on... There is no comparison between the two societies and very much, one deserves a nation and one has shown that they do not.
Posted by DaveH at 3:49 PM

Increase in service employment a good thing?

An interesting comment in today's Idea Shop: bq. Manufacturing decline as self-fulfillment Is the U.S. economy’s shift toward services—and away from manufacturing—a move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? bq. A recently-published paper (PDF) from psychologists Leaf van Boven and Thomas Gilovich at least suggests that. bq. The study finds people are happier when they buy services—or “experiences”—rather than goods. That may mean shifts toward services are predictable in rich countries, as consumers easily satisfy basic needs and start aiming at self-actualization instead. Interesting... You hear complaints about how the US is outsourcing everything and how manufacturing isn't recovering as it should. This may be the reason and this is not a bad thing.
Posted by DaveH at 3:45 PM

Hippy Zombies Must Die

From the Dissident Frogman - an excellent bilingual blog - come these two images: dawnbraindead.jpg dawnbraindead2.jpg The site has versions available at various sizes for your desktop. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 2:17 PM

Dr. Norman Borlaug

Two articles on this little-known pioneer in high-yield farming here and here From the first article in Tech Central Station: bq. Borlaug took that mission to Mexico in the 1940s when he became director of a wheat program. There he developed crops that were able to grow in a wide variety of climates and more quickly. Combined with fertilizer and irrigation, Borlaug's new wheat was the answer to a problem that not many people were thinking about in the years after the Second World War. The world's population was growing quickly and many third world nations faced the prospect of perpetual famine. bq. In 1965, India and Pakistan were two of those nations. The famines were so extreme that the institutional resistance to Borlaug's technology disappeared. The results spoke for themselves. Just three years later Pakistan became self-sufficient in wheat product. Despite a prediction by Paul Ehrlich in 1968's "The Population Bomb" that it was a "fantasy" that India would ever do the same, it managed the feat for all cereals by 1974. In 1967, the average Indian consumed 1,875 calories a day. That same average Indian consumed 2,466 calories a day in 1998 even while the population of India doubled during that period. And one paragraph from the second link - an article in The Atlantic bq. The African continent is the main place where food production has not kept pace with population growth: its potential for a Malthusian catastrophe is great. Borlaug's initial efforts in a few African nations have yielded the same rapid increases in food production as did his initial efforts on the Indian subcontinent in the 1960s. Nevertheless, Western environmental groups have campaigned against introducing high-yield farming techniques to Africa, and have persuaded image-sensitive organizations such as the Ford Foundation and the World Bank to steer clear of Borlaug. Environmental groups are campaigning against an agricultural method that reduces soil loss and dramatically increases yield. Talk about being out of touch with reality...
Posted by DaveH at 2:09 PM

Dust storm in China

From Reuters/AlertNet comes this story: bq. One of the worst dust storms to hit northern China in years swirled into Beijing on Monday, turning the skyline of the sprawling capital into a monochrome of grey and prompting afternoon commuters to put on surgical masks. bq. Visibility in parts of north China was cut to 10 m (33 feet) over the weekend, the China Daily said on its Web site, complicating relief efforts after an earthquake last week in Inner Mongolia. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this to get over to the USA. The prevailing flow of wind is west to east and we get a lot of China's dust and pollution. There was a flap recently regarding mercury from a proposed power plant. We get more mercury from China's burning of dirty coal than we would get from a plant in our backyard. And China is not included in Kyoto...
Posted by DaveH at 11:35 AM

Oil for Food - William Safire article

Hat tip to Instapundit for the link to this article in NY Times about the Oil for Food corruption: bq. Follow-Up to Kofigate Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal. bq. At least $5 billion in kickbacks went from corrupt contractors — mainly French and Russian — into the pockets of Saddam and his thugs. Some went to pay off his protectors in foreign governments and media, and we may soon see how much stuck to the fingers of U.N. bureaucrats as well. It is nice to finally start to see cracks in the facade. This is a bad scandal and it needs to be brought to light. Corruption at the highest levels.
Posted by DaveH at 11:06 AM

Give Me a Break...

In the English town of Derby, some people are protesting the restoration of a statue that has been standing for over 100 years. As reported by CNN/Money Hat tip to the Politburo Diktat. bq. For more than 100 years it stood proudly as the centrepiece of England's oldest public park before being decapitated during a Second World War air raid. Now a row has broken out after plans to replace Derby's historic Florentine Boar statue were abandoned for fear of offending Muslims, whose religion considers pigs to be 'unclean'. From the article: bq. A replica of the statue, a crouching wild boar, was intended as the jewel in the crown of a Pounds 5 million National Lottery- funded restoration of the city's Arboretum Park. bq. But councillors have called for the proposal to be scrapped amid sinister warnings that the statue would be vandalised or stolen. Bunch of wankers...
Posted by DaveH at 12:45 AM

Unreasonable searches and seizures???

Thanks to a couple of backwater judges in Louisiana, the Fourth Amendment is now null and void. Here is what's happening in New Orleans: bq. It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business. Here is the text: bq. Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. To continue from the article in the New Orleans Channel bq. The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell." This will go to the supremes and these little boys will get their pee-pees whacked. It will be interesting to follow the future (if any) legal careers of these mis-guided twits...
Posted by DaveH at 12:06 AM

March 28, 2004

Libya down, Syria next?

Ran into this little gem at Instapundit From The Australian comes the news of several months of negotiations, the planned opening of two embassies and visits of high people. From the article: bq. Syria has appealed to Australia to use its close ties with Washington to help the Arab nation shake off its reputation as a terrorist haven and repair its relations with the US. bq. Secret talks between the two nations have been under way for months but have become more urgent as rogue nations reconsider their role in allowing terrorists to thrive, in light of the US determination to take pre-emptive military action. bq. A Syrian embassy will be opened in Canberra in weeks and Australia is considering reopening its mission in Damascus. bq. Australia's close relationship with Washington, and its much higher profile in the Middle East, have prompted Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara'a and parliamentary speaker Mahmoud Al-Ibrache to appeal to Canberra to help bring their country back in from a US-imposed diplomatic freeze. This is incredibly cool - Syria is the place where Saddam's WMD's were supposed to have been moved to. They have been a hardline terrorist sponsor. The grace with which we treated Libya has shown to the Arab world that we are willing to work with those nations who can prove that they are willing to work with us. National defense is one thing but waging a 1930's Soviet style "Cold War" against the west is not the way to win friends or to have a vital economy. The wonderful thing is that this will open these areas up to travel again. Afghanistan used to be a major backpacking destination 30 years ago and it would be great to go and visit some of the places you read about in the Bible. To walk on the places these people walked. The militancy is a recent thing, fostered by the Soviets who wanted instability (check out Arafat's origins if you don't believe me) and when the Soviet government collapsed, the fundamentals continued lurching along like some Frankenstein's Monster fueled by Saudi oil money and their personal sense of cultural failure coupled to an inability to look within for the cause. Blame the West is not the solution... Hate is not the A.N.S.W.E.R.
Posted by DaveH at 11:25 PM

J. F. Kerry - FBI files stolen

Interesting story on CNN News -- Historian Gerald Nicosia spent about ten years collecting a Freedom of Information Act information from the FBI regarding it's investigation of John F. Kerry. Last Friday, a chunk of those documents were stolen from his house. He says: bq. "It was a very clean burglary. They didn't break any glass. They didn't take anything like cameras sitting by. It was a very professional job," Nicosia said. bq. "Was it a thrill-seeker who wanted a piece of history? It could be," Nicosia said. "You'd think there was a very strong political motivation for taking those files. The odds are in favor of that." And why might there be a political motivation? bq. Nicosia showed about 50 pages of the documents to CNN last week. Interesting - the guy shows the documents to CNN and then gets a sneak visit and looses a bunch of them. As I see it, the good news that the burglars were probably doing a rush job and just grabbed what they could get. The article says that Nicosea had not had time to review all of them. I bet he is going through the remaining 90% with a fine tooth comb. I'll be googling his name from time to time and reporting back on what I see...
Posted by DaveH at 11:11 PM

Blogging from the new house

As some of you know, Jen and I are moving to a place near Mt. Baker and starting a Hard Cider business. This is the first Blog entry from the new location. Dialup sucks... Need to find a way to leverage a T1 No cable, no DSL Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (grin)
Posted by DaveH at 2:45 AM

March 26, 2004

Bush to meet Mideast leaders

From Reuters bq. Bush Launches New Round of Mideast Diplomacy President Bush will meet next month with the leaders of Israel, Egypt and Jordan, the White House announced on Friday, launching a new round of Middle East diplomacy expected to lay the groundwork for Israel's withdrawal of settlements from the Gaza Strip. bq. Officials said the meetings were part of a new push by the U.S. administration to calm rising tensions in the region after the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin by Israeli forces. As part of that effort, the White House has decided to delay, possibly until mid-April, new U.S. economic sanctions against Syria for backing anti-Israel militants, sources said. As the dominoes get pushed a little harder, they start to topple and fall... Faster please!
Posted by DaveH at 4:55 PM

Clarke gets dope-slapped

Senator Bill Frist lays into Richard Clarke in a NY Times article: bq. There has been much fulminating in the media and by some Senators on the other side about a new book by a former State Department civil servant named Richard Clarke. In this book, released for sale by the parent company of the CBS network, Mr. Clarke makes the outrageous charge that the Bush Administration, in its first seven months in office, failed to adequately address the threat posed by Osama bin Laden. bq. I am troubled by these charges. I am equally troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their former service as a government insider with access to our nation s most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001. I am troubled that Senators on the other side are so quick to accept such claims. I am troubled that Mr. Clarke has a hard time keeping his own story straight. And more: bq. It is awesomely self-serving for Mr. Clarke to assert that the United States could have stopped terrorism if only the three President's he served had better listened to his advice. He then compares Clarke's current testimony to a press interview Clarke did in 2002 and finds that Clarke fisks himself quite nicely.
Posted by DaveH at 4:52 PM

Family with high electric bill busted for pot growing except...

From the SanDiego Union-Tribune comes the story of a Carlsbad family who were subjected to a police raid: bq. The Dagys' home was one of 25 raided Friday as part of a six-month investigation into a countywide ring that was growing marijuana inside rental homes. Homes were targeted largely based on unusually high utility bills, which often result from the 24-hour use of grow lights, according to court records. bq. Dina Dagy arrived to find police surrounding the home. Neighbors watched as she stood outside and detectives combed through the house. bq. They found plenty of toys, but no pot. The Dagy family wants a written letter of apology but the police will not give it: bq. Carlsbad police Lt. Bill Rowland said he planned to speak with the Dagys, and his investigators apologized to the Dagys the day of the search, but he did not commit to a written apology. bq. That's because the Dagys' high electricity bill was not the sole reason for the search, Rowland said. He noted a drug-sniffing dog showed interest in the home when it was taken there before Friday's search. A search warrant affidavit was reviewed by the District Attorney's Office and a judge signed the warrant. Botched job there guys - no donuts for you!
Posted by DaveH at 2:09 PM

Witty Worm analysis

Very good analysis of the Witty Worm which has been causing some problems with several products made by ISS including the popular BlackIce firewall. Of special interest is the Network Telescope at UCSD: bq. The UCSD Network Telescope consists of a large piece of globally announced IPv4 address space. The telescope contains almost no legitimate hosts, so inbound traffic to nonexistent machines is always anomalous in some way. Because the network telescope contains approximately 1/256th of all IPv4 addresses, we receive roughly one out of every 256 packets sent by an Internet worm with an unbiased random number generator. Because we are uniquely situated to receive traffic from every worm-infected host, we provide a global view of the spread of Internet worms.
Posted by DaveH at 2:01 PM

McAuliffe and Saddam

Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe shares a decorating idea with Saddam Hussein. Saddam decorated the lobby of the al Rashid Hotel with a likeness of the face of President Bush. People had to walk on it when they crossed the lobby. Chairman Terry McAuliffe has a doormat outside his office with a likeness of the face of President Bush. People have to walk on it when they enter his office. The Democrats are playing this down but what would be their response if President Bush did the same thing with a John F. Kerry doormat. The outcry would be immediate. As the Democratic Party Chairman, I would have thought that Terry McAuliffe would be showing a little more class in his behaviour... Hat tip to the Politburo Diktat who has pictures of both sites.
Posted by DaveH at 1:29 PM

BageL.U virus

There is a good writeup on teh BageL.U virus over at Infoworld. bq. Bagel.U is the 21st version of an e-mail worm that first appeared in January. Unlike earlier versions of the worm, the new variant eschews tricky subject lines or enticing messages, hiding in a file attachment to otherwise blank e-mail messages. Once opened, Bagle.U opens a back door to infected systems, mails copies of itself to e-mail addresses it steals from the user's computer and even launches the Windows Hearts card game, antivirus companies said. Nasty stuff.
Posted by DaveH at 1:16 PM

Ten tips for better network security

From O'Reilly Publishing: bq. Top Ten Tips to Make Attacker’s Lives Hell by Chris McNab, author of Network Security Assessment bq. I run a lot of penetration testing exercises against client networks and systems. A lot of the time, testing is relatively straightforward, as the network administrator is not filtering ICMP traffic, and my network scans are not proactively blocked. I love this type of testing, as it's easy and quick to undertake. bq. What I don't like, however, is when security-conscious administrators lay down a number of hurdles between me and the target systems. In these situations, a test that would usually take two days to undertake now takes a week's worth of my time! By laying down such hurdles, you can force attackers (and security consultants) to go to much more effort in trying to map your networks, identify services, and applications, and effectively attack and compromise them. Very good stuff here -- if you have a permanent connection to the internet and keep your computers on all the time, these would be a great idea to implement.
Posted by DaveH at 1:02 PM

Google Voice Search

Use your telephone to enter a Google search. A new product from the Google Labs
Posted by DaveH at 12:58 PM

Great Quote

"The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealised past." Robertson Davies Makes me think of environmentalists and leftists for some reason...
Posted by DaveH at 12:56 PM

The Brief Safe

Strange but clever idea... These people are selling a set of undies that have... I'll let them tell you: bq. "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown). brief_safe.jpg
Posted by DaveH at 12:51 PM

Large Video Game

From NY1 News: bq. High above Times Square, there is now a gigantic video car racing game that anyone with a cellphone can play. Of course, you need to be nearby to see the screen, at 43rd and Broadway. Heh... Clever idea - the game is only up 25 minutes out of the hour, the rest of the time its an advert for Yahoo.
Posted by DaveH at 12:43 PM

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Interesting article in the Toronto Star on the link between HFCS and Obesity. bq. The data showed an increase in the use of high-fructose corn sweeteners in the late 1970s and 1980s "coincidental with the epidemic of obesity," said one of the researchers, Dr. George Bray, a longtime obesity scientist with Louisiana State University System's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He noted the research didn't prove a definitive link. And the HFCS industry's reply? bq. "It's not about the high-fructose corn syrup being a part of foods. It's about how many calories we're eating against how many calories we're burning," said Alison Kretser, a registered dietitian and director of scientific and nutrition policy for the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Its members include the Coca-Cola Co., Kellogg Co. and Sara Lee Corp. Medical issues: bq. The debate over high-fructose sweeteners centers on how the body processes sugar. Unlike glucose, a major component in table sugar, fructose doesn't trigger responses in hormones that regulate energy use and appetite. That means fructose is more likely to be converted into fat, the researchers said. The taste is different too - I much prefer Mexican Coca-Cola because it is made with 100% pure cane sugar instead of HFCS. A look into the US corn subsidies might be interesting at this point...
Posted by DaveH at 11:35 AM

Motorcycling through Chernoby; - II

I blogged about it earlier here - a woman who lives in Eastern Europe likes to ride her motorcycle through the abandoned sites of Chernobyl and Pripyat. She is back and has updated her diary. Hat tip to The Commisar. Original site here Site mirrors here and here It has been slashdotted so be patient...
Posted by DaveH at 11:19 AM

Former Archbishop of Canterbury speaks out...

Hat tip to the Inoperable Terran for this link to an article in the Telegraph about Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury: bq. Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, launched a trenchant attack on Islamic culture last night, saying it was authoritarian, inflexible and under-achieving. bq. In a speech that will upset sensitive relations between the faiths, he denounced moderate Muslims for failing unequivocally to condemn the "evil" of suicide bombers. And more: bq. Contrasting western democracy with Islamic societies, he said: "Throughout the Middle East and North Africa we find authoritarian regimes with deeply entrenched leadership, some of which rose to power at the point of a gun and are retained in power by massive investment in security forces. And more: bq. "Although we owe much to Islam handing on to the West many of the treasures of Greek thought, the beginnings of calculus, Aristotelian thought during the period known in the West as the dark ages, it is sad to relate that no great invention has come for many hundred years from Muslim countries," he said. I am sad that he retired - his replacement (Dr Rowan Williams) is an appeaser and a weak-spirited person.
Posted by DaveH at 11:03 AM

Clarke and Saudis

The Boston Herald is on a roll these days. Today they are writing about Richard Clarke and his involvement with expediting that airplane load full of Saudis (including members fo the Bin Laden family) who fled the USA after 9/11: bq. We'd like to know how Clarke squares his contention that he was the only one in the Bush administration truly committed to thwarting terrorism before the Sept. 11 attacks with this: It was Clarke who personally authorized the evacuation by private plane of dozens of Saudi citizens, including many members of Osama bin Laden's own family, in the days immediately following Sept. 11. And more: bq. The same sanctimonious Clarke who now claims National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice didn't even know what al-Qaeda was, could have stopped the bin Laden airlift singlehandedly.
Posted by DaveH at 10:32 AM

Lileks v/s Clarke

James Lileks' Bleat today is wonderful - he excoriates the media reporting on the Richard Clarke and 9/11 media fiasco. Very well researched and quote-by-quote fisking of Clarke's own words. There is too much good stuff to excerpt - I'll leave you with the final paragraph: bq. And I bring this up . . . why? Because I want to blame the Clinton administration? Look: to me that’s ancient history. That’s Flintstone time. If it weren’t for these hearings I wouldn’t give a tin fig for who didn’t do what when and where. September Eleventh was the bright red gash that separated the Now from the La-la Then, and we’ve been living in the hot spiky Now ever since. I am interested in the Now and the What Next. I don’t have much patience for people who believe that the salvation of Western Civilization depends on hiking the marginal tax rates to pre-2002 levels. But if you want to play Eight Years vs. Eight Months, fine. Just remember that before 9/11, the skies over Afghanistan were clear. After 9/11, they thrummed with the sound of B-52s until the job was done. bq. No small distinction. That is the sound of a writer on a roll...
Posted by DaveH at 9:12 AM

March 25, 2004

Doctor on a slide down

A strange tale of a Doctor who had everything going for him and then, whose life took a 180 and started down a very slippery slope. I remember reading about the first incident in mid-2002. I was shocked then but forgot about the story. For the Doctor in question, this was only the beginning. From The Boston Globe with a tip 'o the hat to No Watermelons: bq. The son of a prominent Boston doctor, David Arndt was on his way to becoming a leading surgeon in his own right when a bizarre blunder interrupted his climb: He left his patient on the operating table so he could cash his paycheck. A series of arrests followed, exposing a life of arrogance, betrayal, and wasted promise, leaving only one question left to answer: What Went Wrong? bq. The kid was born into medicine. He was on track to becoming one of Boston's next great spine surgeons, taking his place alongside his father among the city's medical elite. But on this day in January, the 43-year-old sits on the dark bench in the dimly lit gallery of Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, watching the parade of career criminals take their familiar positions, wearing expressions of defiance or boredom. Look in his eyes, however, behind the boxy glasses, and you can see flashes of bewilderment. How did I get here? He watches as a paunchy guy charged with conspiring to kill a cop asks the court officer if he can give the large, weeping woman in the front row "a kiss and my lottery tickets" before being led away. And then the clerk calls out his number: "Case number 38 - David Arndt." Charges from the arrests include: bq. ...statutory child rape, indecent assault, and drug possession. He would file a "poverty motion," the surgeon in one of medicine's most lucrative specialties asking the court to pay his costs. And then, in a separate case nearly a year later, he would face one more charge, this one for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. A bit of a long article but the author goes into a lot of background. Fascinating reading if you like watching psychological train wrecks... This guy "had it all" and lost it with some amazingly stupid life decisions.
Posted by DaveH at 8:36 PM

U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution Condemning Yassin's Killing

From Bloomburg News: bq. The U.S. vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council that would have condemned Israel for killing Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, because the measure didn't denounce the Palestinian group's terrorist acts. bq. Algeria introduced the resolution on behalf of Arab nations and the Palestinian Authority after the council couldn't agree early this week on a less formal statement on Yassin's death. The U.S. veto allows the Arabs to call for action by the General Assembly of all 191 UN members, where no nation can cast a veto. Algeria is the only Arab nation in the security council -- this is why she initiated the resolution. Good -- this is a time for strong language.
Posted by DaveH at 4:57 PM

Hamas leaders in hiding

From The Indian Express comes the surprising news that all of the Hamas leaders have gone into hiding: bq. The newly appointed chief for the occupied territories Abdel Aziz Rantissi, and political leaders Mahmud Al-Zahar and Ismail Haniya, had been receiving the condolences of thousands of Palestinians in a tent at a Gaza City soccer stadium in accordance with the Islamic tradition. bq. But today they had again gone to ground to avoid the same fate of Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli helicopter strike in Gaza on Monday. None of them could be contacted. And Sharon is now calling the shots instead of trying to follow the Roadmap. bq. Sharon has still to reveal the complete details of what he calls his disengagement plan but it is likely to see the evacuation of all but a handful of the settlements in the gaza strip in exchange for the strengthening of control of the larger settlements in the West bank.
Posted by DaveH at 4:51 PM

Spain's political parties

There is a good article on Spain's Political parties and the fallout of the recent elections in today's FrontPage Magazine: bq. Spain's Socialist Surrender The election of Spanish socialists on March 14th is a major setback for the fight against terrorism, both within Spain and around the world. The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, whose leaders once colluded with Josef Stalin, are now threatening to become the allies of the worldwide Islamist jihad. If their history is chilling, their plans for the future are even scarier The author, Michael Radu goes into the history of the PSOE, it's alignment with the anarchist and Marxist parties, Lenin and general cluelessness. It is going to be a long dark couple of years for our friends over htere... Time to wake up NOW!
Posted by DaveH at 3:05 PM

IRS and Scientology link?

From Marginal Revolution comes this link to a strange story in the NY Times: bq. A trial is to begin here on Wednesday morning to determine whether a Jewish couple can deduct the cost of religious education for their five children, a tax benefit they say the federal government has granted to members of just one religion, the Church of Scientology. And more: bq. "Why is Scientology training different from all other religious training?" Judge Barry D. Silverman wrote in his opinion, adding that the question would not be answered just then because the court was not faced with the question of whether "members of the Church of Scientology have become the I.R.S.'s chosen people." Judge Silverman then recommended litigation to address whether the government is improperly favoring one religion. And more: bq. A subpoena for the secret agreement with the Scientologists has been quashed at the request of the Church of Scientology and the I.R.S. A fight over access to that agreement is likely to be a crucial issue on appeal, which seems certain regardless of how the trial judge rules. So there is a secret agreement between the IRS and the Scientologists and they are both acting to quash the subpoena to release it... Interesting... For more on Scientology, visit Operation Clambake. Rick Ross also has some good information here.
Posted by DaveH at 12:36 PM

Microsoft fine and behaving anti-competitively

From SemiSkimmed comes this link to a BBC news item on the European Microsoft fine: bq. Microsoft must pay almost 500m euros (£331m) to the European Commission for abusing its dominant market position. What will happen to the money? bq. When it comes time for software giant Microsoft to pay a record anti-competition fine - should their appeal against the decision come to nought - the money, all 497m euros of it, will go into the European Union's general budget. And where does it go? bq. Almost half of this is spent on agricultural aid, for subsidising farmers and their produce, and for improving rural development. bq. The second biggest portion - about one-third - goes on EU funding, which supports the poorer countries in the union. Currently Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece benefit most from this fund. So 50% of it goes into Ag subsidies? You are fining a company for anti-competitive behavior and taking 50% of your winnings and acting uncompetative...
Posted by DaveH at 11:27 AM

Chomsky comments section

As noted yesterday, Noam Chomsky has a blog. Chomsky also has a large number of passionate followers and a large (larger?) number of equally passionate enemies. The comments section has gotten very much out of hand. Portland writer Michael J. Totten comments on this: bq. Chomsky's comments section is a nightmarish place swarming with freaks and trolls. It's worse than I expected. A lot worse. This is not going to be a pleasant experience for him unless he shuts down the comments. bq. And that's too bad. My own comments section is invaluable, and I'm more careful about what I say now that I've switched to Movable Type (which has comments built in) and you all can yell at me and tell me I'm full of it. bq. Good feedback and debate might have made Chomsky smarter and more reasonable. But no. It will never happen. He has too many passionate enemies. He has no choice but to continue to wall himself off from reality. The emphasis is mine -- Michael has a clear view of the problem where academics try to position themselves as knowledgeable in world affairs. By its very nature, academia fosters an isolation from external events. It is a very exclusive and closed community and the members 'filter' what they want to see and hear. Ideas take root in one academic center and warp the thinking in others until a new idea comes forth. This happens unaffected by the constant churn of world events. These people may be interesting to listen to and it certainly is a lot of fun to kick ideas around and talk about things --but-- the level of credence given these people is way to great. They take themselves too seriously.
Posted by DaveH at 11:19 AM

Cold Fusion again

From the NY Times with a hat tip to DangerousMeta: bq. U.S. Will Give Cold Fusion Second Look, After 15 Years Cold fusion, briefly hailed as the silver-bullet solution to the world's energy problems and since discarded to the same bin of quackery as paranormal phenomena and perpetual motion machines, will soon get a new hearing from Washington. bq. Despite being pushed to the fringes of physics, cold fusion has continued to be worked on by a small group of scientists, and they say their figures unambiguously verify the original report, that energy can be generated simply by running an electrical current through a jar of water. bq. Last fall, cold fusion scientists asked the Energy Department to take a second look at the process, and last week, the department agreed. And more: bq. "What's on the table is a fairly straightforward question, is there science here or not?" Dr. Hagelstein said. "Most fundamental to this is to get the taint associated with the field hopefully removed." Interesting. Cold Fusion is one of these things that refuses to go away. The original Pons and Fleischmann work came into serious question but other people have been reporting anomalous activity. It should be simple enough to check this once and for all... A related subject is the Farnsworth Fusor. This was invented by Philo T. Farnsworth who's main claim to fame was the invention of modern-day television. Read about it here and here and here
Posted by DaveH at 10:36 AM

Cox and Forkum get it

Your attention - II attention-2.gif This is a takeoff of their earlier cartoon Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 10:12 AM

Birthday today!

The first commercial color televisions were put on the market on this date, 50 years ago. From the Houston Chronicle: bq. On March 25, 1954, Radio Corporation of America began making color televisions at its Bloomington, Ind., plant. It built 5,000 sets with 12-inch screens, known as the model CT-100 color receiver. They sold for $1,000 each, astronomical in those days.
Posted by DaveH at 10:04 AM

March 24, 2004

American Warlords in Afghanistan

Very interesting article in Strategy Page about the tactics being used to deal with Taliban and Al Qaeda stragglers. bq. The U.S. Army Special Forces have gone back to their roots in Afghanistan. Using techniques developed and used with great success as far back as World War II, Special Forces A Teams are operating in remote Afghan valleys, and forming their own small armies by hiring local Afghans to help catch any Taliban or al Qaeda who might come through. U.S. troops have hired armed Afghans in the past, but from local warlords. This did not work too well. The warlord who supplied the troops had their own agendas. This included not getting any of their lads killed, and being open to bribery from the opposition. All of this is considered traditional in the Afghan scheme of things. A warlord becomes a warlord by having enough money to pay troops, some way to raise more money to keep paying them, and enough battlefield sense to keep down friendly casualties. Any warlord who misses too many payrolls, or gets too many of his guys killed, finds that no one wants to follow him anymore. A warlord without gunmen is no longer a warlord. bq. The Special Forces understand all this, and now they are, well, behaving like warlords. Special Forces troops have been establishing contacts throughout the southeastern Afghan border area over the last two years. So when a dozen Special Forces troops show up with guns and money, they are not treated as enemies. The Special Forces already have a well earned reputation throughout Afghanistan as being formidable fighters. Often the Special Forces can speak the Afghan languages, which impresses Afghans a lot (because it is so rare for outsiders to do this). And most importantly, the Special Forces have the power to call down from above "the bombs that never miss" (JDAM dropped from B-52s overhead). Very cool - the people who live there are glad to see these people taken out too because the way they gain power is to kidnap or bribe the native population. This particular cult is on its last legs and it is good to see it go...
Posted by DaveH at 10:42 PM

The Mountain Comes to Mohamed

Cats are mating with Dogs. Pigs are flying through the Air. Time stands still. Water flows Uphill. Noam Chomsky has a BLOG! No -- really! This Noam Chomsky - the guy who endorses Kerry as a presidential candidate along with many foreign dignitaries (Kim Jong Il, Jacques Chirac, Mahathir Mohamad, Mohammad Khatami and Hugo Chavez have issued public endorsements in the last two months). The Noam Chomsky who is considered to be a pariah. The Chomsky who is a cunning linguist The writing in the comments section has been quite lively this evening. I saved a copy of them and it will be interesting to see if there are any "changes" to the postings (I'm running the same software for here and this is trivial to do although I do not. I delete spam comments but do not edit. If I have a change beyond a spelling or formatting correction, I will post an UPDATE at the bottom of the post.)
Posted by DaveH at 9:53 PM

Strange tourist attractions

Fire an RPG at a cow for $400 and other interesting destinations... Article is in the New Zealand Herald Travel Section
Posted by DaveH at 1:50 PM

Blair to meet with Qaddafi

This is great news. From Reuters: bq. Tony Blair will help usher Libya back into the international community Thursday when he becomes the first British leader to visit Tripoli since Winston Churchill in World War II. bq. Blair will meet Mummar Qaddafi in a tent on the outskirts of the capital, reward British officials said for the Libyan leader's decision to give up banned weapons programs and pay compensation for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing. This sends a great message to the people living in fascist Arab states - we are willing to play nice if you don't support terrorism.
Posted by DaveH at 1:08 PM

Oil Prices - an explination

A great question and answer writeup in today's National Review talking about current Oil Prices and why they are going up. bq. The sharp rise in oil prices to $37 a barrel has coincided with a number of significant events involving geopolitics, macroeconomics, and the petroleum industry. These have piqued the interest of investors and have caused many portfolio managers to ask whether this is the start of a new era of sustained high oil prices. bq. Is it? No. But to understand why, here are the most common questions being asked about oil on Wall Street, followed by the answers more people should know. Check it out...
Posted by DaveH at 12:56 PM

Homeland Security = Rural Pork

Noah Shachtman at Defense Tech links to an interesting article in Time Magazine: Excerpting a few paragraphs here: bq. International terrorism, as most experts will tell you, is not as unpredictable as it feels. Terrorists follow patterns. And while we can't read the minds of zealots, we can get a good idea of what kind of damage they could do in any given location. bq. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, about $13.1 billion has surged into state coffers from the Federal Government—sorely needed money that has gone for police, fire and emergency services to help finance equipment and training to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. bq. That is a 990% increase over the $1.2 billion spent by the Federal Government for similar programs in the preceding three years. But the vast majority of the $13.1 billion was distributed with no regard for the threats, vulnerabilities and potential consequences faced by each region. Of the top 10 states and districts receiving the most money per capita last year, only the District of Columbia also appeared on a list of the top 10 most at-risk places, as calculated by AIR for TIME. In fact, funding appears to be almost inversely proportional to risk. If all the federal homeland-security grants from last year are added together, Wyoming received $61 a person while California got just $14, according to data gathered at TIME's request by the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent, nonprofit research organization. Alaska received an impressive $58 a resident, while New York got less than $25. The article mentions that initially, a computer model was used to determine where funding should go. Also, in the days immediately after 9/11, many of the Washington buildings were closed due to Anthrax and some of the legislation for the funding got railroaded through. Good read!
Posted by DaveH at 12:02 PM

UN Oil for Food scandal - more

Writer Roger L. Simon has been keeping up to date on the growing UN Oil for Food scandal. Today, he links to an NY Post article: bq. U.N. bureaucrats are stonewalling requests from Iraq's new government for records from the scandal-plagued oil-for-food account set up in Saddam Hussein's handpicked French bank, officials said yesterday. bq. The mysterious activities over the handling of the U.N. account at the French banking giant BNP Paribas, where $100 billion worth of oil-for-food transactions flowed until the war, has emerged as a central focus of several investigations in the wake of the massive bribery-kickback scandal that has rocked the world body at its highest levels. bq. United Nations custody of the account was so secretive and unusual that even Saddam, who stole $10.1 billion from the program and bribed sympathetic pols with some of the proceeds, pressed unsuccessfully to have the account transferred out of the bank he originally insisted handle the program, said Claude Hankes-Drielsma, the British businessman advising Iraq's Governing Council on the issue. This will be interesting - Enron was only a billion or two. Parmalat is 14 Billion Euros. This scandal with the French bank is $100 Billion. Considering the efforts that Old Europe (Axis of Weasels) went to to block the coalitions work in Iraq, I would say that this is dirty money -- very very dirty and the dirt extends to the top.
Posted by DaveH at 11:48 AM


From Kim DuToit comes a link to this story of discrimination and harassment at a small liberal arts college. bq. Whites-Only Scholarship Stirs R.I. College On the sleepy coastal campus of Roger Williams University, a small liberal arts school unaccustomed to student activism, the College Republicans are reveling in the debate they've kicked up by offering a scholarship for whites only. bq. The $250 award -- which required an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness" -- has invited the wrath of everyone from minority groups and school officials to the chairman of the Republican National Committee himself. And more: bq. "We did our job," said Mattera, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "This is what college is all about, challenging the status quo." bq. They did such a good job that school President Roy Nirschel, who has clashed with the group before, cut short a trip to Vietnam last month to begin what he called "a healing process" -- including forming a commission on civil discourse. And the reason: bq. Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said the scholarship was a parody of minority scholarships. Mattera himself was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Hispanic College Fund, he said. Heh... People can be so politically correct that they loose their sense of humor.
Posted by DaveH at 11:21 AM

Parmalat scandal continues

From Forbes comes an excellent history and analysis of Europe's Parmalat scandal -- this is the company with an unreported debt of 14 Billion Euros. This makes it bigger than Enron by about one order of magnitude. What is Parmalat: bq. One of Italy's best-known global brands, the dairy multinational traces its roots back to a food shop in the northern Italian city of Parma which was inherited by Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi from his father. The crash: bq. Growing worries about Parmalat's opaque accounts and its offshore holding companies suddenly deepened in November when the group, under pressure from regulators, said it had nearly 500 million euros ($613 million) invested in an unknown Cayman Islands fund. Interesting story that is not given too much play in the media.
Posted by DaveH at 10:46 AM

Bomb found in France

From Reuters: bq. France's state-run SNCF railway found a suspected bomb including detonators half-buried on the main line between Paris and the Swiss city of Basle on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said. bq. It said in a statement that the device had been made safe by bomb disposal experts. And the show begins... The concept of appeasement will not work with this culture. Appeasement and diplomacy translates directly into weakness in their sight and the only thing that they recognize is strength. UPDATE: More detail can be found in this article at CNN
Posted by DaveH at 10:13 AM

Cool software for Sysadmins

One of the jobs that a systems administrator has is to keep track of who has what installed in their machines. There are a few commercial applications that do this - usually they are expensive since these companies don't sell a lot of them. One shining star is the free AIDA-32 -- developed in Hungary by Tamos Miklos, this application will run on the client machine and report to a central database with the hardware configuration and installed software. Tamos just announced that he is suspending development so if you are interested in this, it might be a good idea to download it now before the website goes away. The main website is here The downloads section is here Good stuff!
Posted by DaveH at 9:52 AM

The truth about 3/11

There was a link at Allah's website to this wonderful editorial by Spain's outgoing Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar: bq. The Truth About 3/11 This is no time to hand the terrorists a victory. On March 11, Spain suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history and one of the bloodiest the world has ever known. Terrorists planned their cowardly acts with the express purpose of killing as many people as possible, in order to sow terror and strike a mortal blow against our freedoms and rights. It was a day we felt an immense pain, pain we will never forget. But it was also a pain we must all learn from. And more: bq. This is not the moment to think about withdrawals of troops. And much less when the terrorists, with their message of death and destruction, have demanded that we surrender. To yield now would set a dangerous precedent that would allow our attackers to believe that they have imposed their conditions on us. It would allow our attackers to believe that they have won. He gets it. Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero does not. It is as simple as that...
Posted by DaveH at 9:34 AM

Blogging tips

The Politburo Diktat gives us useful tips on increasing blog traffic. Search engines: Paris Hilton Porn Video Janet Jackson Iraq hot blonde Content: Unnnhhh??? Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 9:19 AM

March 23, 2004

Sheik Yassin fallout

The Ever Wonderful (PBUHN) Allah links to some interesting news regarding the recent departure of one of his servants: From Yahoo/India: bq. Israeli killing of Hamas leader may weaken Arafat "I could be next," Palestinian President Yasser Arafat told aides on hearing Israel had assassinated Hamas militant leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. bq. Palestinian officials and analysts said Arafat should be worrying more about his grip on power after the end of Yassin. bq. They said Yassin's death may weaken what little hold Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA), plagued by corruption and disarray, retains on the West Bank and Gaza as Hamas rides widespread rage to greater heights of popularity. bq. Yassin's grassroots Islamist movement has gained ground on Arafat's PA over more than three years of conflict with Israel. bq. "If Yassin's assassination was meant to curb the capacity of Hamas, it also indicated to the Palestinians the incapacity of the Palestinian Authority," commentator Ali al-Jarbawi said. Kinda ties into what I pointed to earlier this afternoon when I linked to Steven DenBeste's article: bq. But even more important than that is the fact that the Palestinians are not united. There is no actual leader who can negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians who can actually deliver on the promises he makes. COOL! Ramallah delenda est!
Posted by DaveH at 8:59 PM

Shipbreaking in England

I had blogged about this earlier. Now Robert Hinkley at SemiSkimmed points to some environmental flip/flopping going on... Against: From the BBC: bq. 'Ghost fleet' row heads to court Environmental campaigners are taking legal action over a fleet of rusting US navy vessels heading to the UK for wrecking. For: From the BBC bq. Call to break up ships in the UK Greenpeace has called for British ships to be scrapped in the UK to stop them ending up in the developing world. If the enviro's had used their little grey cells a bit back in November, this would never have been an issue. I do not know the shipyard at Hartlepool but I would imagine that it is well equipped to deal with asbestos, PCBs and all of the other nasty stuff that was used in shipbuilding back in the 1940's. Much better than the beaches of India. The enviros need to learn to see the big picture. NIMBY and BANANA is OK but the stuff will happen somewhere and it's a lot better to have it happen under close observation than with zero checks and balances. It may not impact your water table but the whole ... entire ... purpose of environmentalism is to vouchsafe everybody's environment, not just your own. That is why the Kyoto protocol is such an incalculably bad bit of thinking. UPDATE: Jennifer brought to my attention that the Kyoto protocol was not based on thinking. The use of the word "thinking" assumes that mental powers are at work -- the people who drafted the protocol were bereft of these facilities and so the word "thinking" should not really be used. Cogitation, the scent of burnt wood-smoke issuing from the ears, a furrowing of the brow and silent moving of the lips -- these febrile efforts constitute thinking. Kyoto has none of these advantages -- it is political...
Posted by DaveH at 8:37 PM

Mark Steyn on Appeasement

Mark Steyn has an excellent column in today's Telegraph: bq. We tried appeasement once before... A neighbour of mine refuses to let her boy play with "militaristic" toys. So when a friend gave the l'il tyke a plastic sword and shield, mom mulled it over and then took away the former and allowed him to keep the latter. And for a while, on my drive down to town, I'd pass Junior in the yard playing with his shield, mastering the art of cowering more effectively against unseen blows. bq. That's how the "peace" crowd thinks the West should fight terrorism: eschew the sword, but keep the shield if you absolutely have to. Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that two Greenpeace activists had climbed up to Big Ben to protest at the Iraq war. Don't ask me why Greenpeace is opposed to the liberation of Iraq. It's been marvellous for the eco-system: the marshlands of southern Iraq are now being restored after decades of Saddamite devastation. And more: bq. For more than a week now, American friends have asked me why 3/11 wasn't 9/11. I think it comes down to those two words you find on Holocaust memorials all over Europe: "Never again." Fine-sounding, but claptrap. The never-again scenario comes round again every year. This very minute in North Korea there are entire families interned in concentration camps. Concentration camps with gas chambers. Think Kim Jong-Il's worried that the civilised world might mean something by those two words? Ha-ha. bq. How did a pledge to the memory of the dead decay into hollow moral preening? When an American Jew stands at the gates of a former concentration camp and sees the inscription "Never again", he assumes it's a commitment never again to tolerate genocide. Alain Finkielkraut, a French thinker, says that those two words to a European mean this: never again the führers and duces who enabled such genocide. "Never again power politics. Never again nationalism. Never again Auschwitz" - a slightly different set of priorities. And over the years a revulsion against any kind of "power politics" has come to trump whatever revulsion post-Auschwitz Europe might feel about mass murder. bq. That's why the EU let hundreds of thousands of Bosnians and Croats die on its borders until the Americans were permitted to step in. That's why the fact that thousands of Iraqis are no longer being murdered by their government is trivial when weighed against the use of Anglo-American military force required to effect their freedom. "Never again" has evolved to mean precisely the kind of passivity that enabled the Holocaust first time round. "Neville again" would be a better slogan. He is in rare form today - usually a good writer, today he is incandescent. That Greenpeace should protest Iraq when the Marsh Arab lands are being restored and the residue from Saddam's oil fires cleaned up is hypocracy at its finest. I much prefer Greenpeace's first co-founder Patrick Moore who has been effectivly ostracised from Greenpeace and the so-called "enviromental" movement for speaking science instead of rhetoric. I blogged about him here and here. His personal website Greenspirit is worth checking out.
Posted by DaveH at 8:00 PM

Language Police in Nova Scotia

From the Globe and Mail: bq. Call me nuts, but PC language cripples us The other day some readers took me to task for speculating that a certain prominent person had been "off his meds" when he called Olympics champion Myriam Bedard a pitiable single mother. Hurtful, stigmatizing, and discriminatory toward the mentally ill, they wrote. Shame on me. I ought to know better. bq. I guess I ought. And now they can report me to the government of Nova Scotia, where a body known as the Anti-Stigma/Discrimination Working Group is trying to stamp out media bias toward mental illness. It is running a contest encouraging alert citizens to collect examples of such bias, and it's even offering a $2,000 reward. A partial list of biased words includes "maniac," "madman," "fruitcake," "madness," "mental hospital," "nutcase," "raving lunatic," "kooky," and "you're off your head." The word "schizophrenic" is biased when used metaphorically. Unbiased writers should not refer to mental illness as an "affliction" or call someone who has it a "victim." That might leave the impression that mental illness is a bad thing. Sheesh. Bunch of (insert favorite non-PC derogatory term here) wankers with nothing better to do... Nanny state at it's best.
Posted by DaveH at 7:03 PM

Israels strategy

I was reading Steven DenBeste's weblog and saw a new article - this one is on Israel's strategy re: the assisination of terrorist and Hamas founder Sheik Yassin. He shares a number of conclusions that I do and comes to a very interesting point... bq. A negotiated peace with the Palestinians is not possible now. That has been clear for a long time. There are two reasons why. First, the Palestinians do not negotiate in good faith. The reason that Oslo failed was that the Palestinians did not fulfil their side of the bargain. bq. But even more important than that is the fact that the Palestinians are not united. There is no actual leader who can negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians who can actually deliver on the promises he makes. bq. That's what Israel is about to prove to the world. This is what is really new, and it is extremely clever. That's why Israel is building a wall around the West Bank, and why Israel is going to pull out of Gaza. With Israel gone, the Palestinian areas will erupt in violence as various Palestinian power groups vie with one another for control. This analogy is very apt: bq. The right mental model for Palestinian factions is the Chicago crime mobs of the Prohibition era. These are not political movements; they are violent gangs. The Palistinian terrorists do not want, will not accept a two-state solution. They want Israel pushed into the sea. Israel's solution is to show the world that there is no unified Palestinian leadership.
Posted by DaveH at 3:13 PM

Dick Clarke smackdown

From National Review Online comes an article asking Mr. Clarke to talk about seven things. The author, Mansoor Ijaz, negotiated Sudan's offer of counterterrorism assistance on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to the Clinton administration in 1997 and coauthored the blueprint for the ceasefire in Kashmir in the summer of 2000 so he kinda knows what he is talking about. bq. A Dick Clarke Top Seven Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism czar in four successive administrations, testifies in front of the 9/11 Commission on Wednesday. But what should have been a serious inquiry into how a loosely knit gang of Islamic fanatics could rise to become one of history's most lethal and effective global terrorist organizations now promises to become a political spectacle. bq. At the height of the presidential campaign season, Clarke has made irresponsible and untrue allegations that the Bush White House was indifferent to the threat posed by al Qaeda in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Whether his charges are the result of a momentary lapse in judgment in an otherwise distinguished civil-service career, or the hallmark of personal ego and greed in trying to sell a book while settling scores with a Bush White House that demoted him, the 9/11 commissioners cannot be deterred in their task to find out the truth about what happened on his watch to America's counterterrorism efforts. Talking about what Mr. Clarke should be asked: bq. If I were a 9/11 commissioner, there are seven very pointed areas of inquiry I would enter into with Clarke to understand exactly how the intelligence failures and policy missteps evolved: bq. Sudan's offer to hand over Osama bin Laden Sudan's counterterrorism offer Iraq and al Qaeda — the Sudan connection The U.S. embassy bombings He goes into good detail for each question. I"m excerpting here so if you want to read the remaining three topics, you can check the article. He closes out with the following words: bq. Factual answers to these questions, minus the political bluster and ad-hominem attacks aimed at scoring points with a potential future employer, would go a long way in restoring Richard Clarke's severely damaged credibility as an observer and participant in some of history's most important events. Our future generations deserve better than to watch catfights between grown adults charged with nothing less than providing for their safety and security. bq. Just tell us the truth, Mr. Clarke. So true and so rare a thing in today's Democratic party.
Posted by DaveH at 1:08 PM

More on Russian Navy

While looking into more details on the Battle Cruiser in the previous post, I stumbled onto this well-written story about the state of the Russian Navy. From the BBC: bq. Russia's Rusting Navy The decline of Russia's armed services has been unmistakable for more than a decade, but it is the crisis in the navy that has been most conspicuous of all. bq. The declaration from the navy commander-in-chief that the nuclear cruiser Peter the Great is too dangerous to be at sea is only the latest in a string of problems. bq. The sinking of the Kursk submarine during exercises in 2000, was Russia's worst peacetime military disaster, leading to the death of 118 sailors. It goes on to list a whole litany of problems including one Navy Base being so far behind on utility payments that it had its power cut for non-payment.
Posted by DaveH at 12:12 PM

Russian Battle Cruiser may or may not explode

From the Mmmm OK department comes these news items: From Norway's TV2 Nettavisen: bq. Nuclear battle cruiser may explode The Russian north fleet’s flag ship Pjotr Velikij may explode at any time, according to the Russian navy. bq. The condition of the ship is so grave that it may explode at any time, stated Vladimir Kuroyedov, the chief of the Russian navy, to AFP Tuesday. From Yahoo/Reuters: bq. Russian Admiral Causes Flap Over Nuclear Ship Risk The head of the Russian navy rang alarm bells Tuesday after being quoted saying one of the world's most powerful nuclear warships might be about to blow up. bq. But Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov then denied making the comment and said he meant only that the Peter the Great, the pride of Moscow's Northern Fleet, was being poorly maintained. bq. Russian military analysts said the incident may have had less to do with an imminent danger than with rivalries among the top brass of a navy struggling to stay afloat on a budget that has been dramatically cut since its Cold War heyday. From Yahoo/AFP: bq. Russia navy chief's exploding comments set off controversy But Kuroyedov said Tuesday that he had ordered the ship back into port after finding it in deplorable condition during a visit last week. bq. "The ship is in such a state that it could explode at any moment," the Interfax news agency quoted Kuroyedov as saying. bq. "The ship's condition is fine in those places where admirals walk, but where they don't go everything is in such a state that it could explode at any moment. This includes the upkeep of the nuclear reactor," Kuroyedov said. bq. Peter the Great has two nuclear reactors and an arsenal of cruise missiles that can be tipped with nuclear warheads. bq. Reports said the 26,000-tonne cruiser's flag was lowered in disgrace as it came into port. bq. But as alarm grew across Russia, Kuroyedov backtracked on his jarring statement, saying he was misquoted by state news agencies, which for their part refused to retract their reports. bq. "In this particular case, we are not talking about any danger to the nuclear reactor," the RIA-Novosti news agency quoted Kuroyedov as saying. I would guess that the real story is somewhere in between... The ship is docked at port, it did come home with it's ensign lowered and given the state of the military budget there, it probably is way overdue for maintenance.
Posted by DaveH at 12:01 PM

Gas Price increase

Two very interesting entries at Knowledge Problem regarding this spring's gas price increase. The first gives a bit of background: bq. In spring, our thoughts typically turn to … the seasonal increase in gasoline prices (what did you think I was going to say?). It all started with this New York Times article on 6 March, which noted that consumers are complaining about high and rising gas prices. More -- talking about oil industry profits and quoting Joe Sparano, an oil industry trade group president: bq. He also emphasized that oil company profits, though up recently, are not out of line with other industries. bq. "Our industry had a profit margin of about 6.3 percent and all industries are at 6.7 percent" for the fourth quarter of 2003, Sparano said. "That's not excessive." bq. That profitability fact is important, because it is consistent with the hypothesis that the root cause of higher gas prices is fuels regulation. The seasonal pattern of price changes is also consistent with that hypothesis. The second entry lists specific reasons for the increase and explains each one: bq. 1. High world crude oil prices. 2. Existing environmental regulations making supply more inelastic. 3. New air quality regulations taking effect in 2004. Interesting reading -- we notice the increased price every time we fill the car but don't know the reasons behind it. Good stuff to know.
Posted by DaveH at 9:47 AM

The Gloves are off...

From Yahoo/Reuters comes the story: bq. Israel Says All Militant Leaders Marked for Death Israel said all Palestinian militant leaders were "in its sights" Tuesday, one day after killing Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin in an attack that provoked vows of bloody revenge. bq. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top aides approved the order to target all senior militants after the wheelchair-bound cleric was assassinated in a missile strike outside a Gaza mosque Monday, security sources said. bq. "Everyone is in our sights," Internal Security Minister Tsahi Hanegbi told reporters. "There is no immunity to anyone." Hat tip to Little Green Footballs There was a wonderful column in todays Seattle Times that really brings home Israel's side of this issue: bq. I wonder how many of those who oppose Israel's security fence have ever thought twice before catching a bus heading for work or school or the shopping centers in downtown Seattle, how many have ever second-guessed their decision to sit down for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or hesitated before walking into a sandwich shop to meet a friend for lunch. bq. I wonder if these opponents to Israel's security fence know what it feels like to kiss their spouses, their children, goodbye every morning and wonder if they will ever see their loved ones again. bq. I think they do not. bq. In fact, I am sure that they do not. Because if they did, they would support Israel's right to protect, and defend, its more than 5 million residents, which include Jews and non-Jews from more than 100 countries.
Posted by DaveH at 9:18 AM

Jasc Paint Shop beta

From DP Review -- Jasc Software has released a beta of their new Paint Shop / Photo Album software. This takes the standard image editing tools of the earlier Paint Shop and adds cataloging and digital workflow tools. From the review it looks pretty nice. Download it here
Posted by DaveH at 9:00 AM

March 22, 2004

Gilligan says "war was just"

Interesting entry from Eurosoc blog Not that Gilligan - this Gilligan (Brief refresher in case the link goes away -- from the BBC: Lord Hutton's report, 328 pages in all, criticised the reporting of BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan, saying that allegations he made against the government were "unfounded". ) Gilligan is now singing quite the different tune: bq. Gilligan says “war was just”. “One year on (since the war began), however the most important fact is that nobody’s worst fears on that wakeful night have come true. The vast majority of us, Iraqis, journalists, and Tony Blair alike, survived. Fedayeen guerrillas struck the coalition with small numbers, but there was virtually no real fighting with Sadam’s regular forces. The bombing of Baghdad looked scary on TV, but it didn’t even begin to approach the daily tonnage dropped on ,say, Hanoy during Vietnam, London or any German city during the second world war. bq. ‘Shock and awe’ lasted an hour and a half, rather than the promised three days. And with only a few ghastly exceptions, the targeting, in the capital at least, was very precise. Colleagues who arrived after the war was over kept asking us where all the destroyed buildings were. bq. There never was a military stalemate, a refugee crisis, a hundred thousand civilian dead…” He goes on: “That old doom-mongers favourite, the revolt of the “Arab street” across the Middle East, has remained as much of a mirage as any weapon of mass destruction.” And we will probably find the WMD (or what ever they were - he was working on something) in Syria (remember the truck convoys we let pass) or buried in the desert.
Posted by DaveH at 9:42 PM

Cool Tools website

Kevin Kelley's website is only updated a couple times/week but it's one that I check every day because the updates are so fascinating... Today brought four new entries. Three caught my eye: Hike? Check out The Trail Database This page is a collection of links to people's trail reports so there is about 10% link rot as web accounts drift away over time. Still, fun reading and global in scope. Need to email the webmaster and tell them about Xenu (This Xenu, most definitely not THAT Xenu) Next on today's list is this site: Remote Web Cam These people make cameras that can be controlled from remote computers on the internet. There is a built--in web server in the camera so you just need to give it an IP number, connect it to the net, set some permissions and go for it. Basic unit is about $280 - higher end units have tilt/pan/zoom functions. Finally is a simple gel burn--bandage. These used to be only available to Doctors but they are now being sold retail. Walgreens has a good deal on a good one. Check this site out. I am redoing my blogroll and will be including CoolTools in the revamped version.
Posted by DaveH at 8:50 PM

"Peace" march...

From the DP Review Forums We may have seen this picture from the NYC Peace Protests this weekend: trample-1.jpg But have we seen the pictures that follow: trample-2.jpg And this one: trample-3.jpg These people are "supportive" of the "Peace" process but they are so wrapped up in their own feel--good onanism that they run right over someone who cannot move out of the way.
Posted by DaveH at 8:29 PM


Mini-ITX is the name used to describe a particular form-factor (shape, dimensions, electrical specifications, power requirements, etc...) of a computer motherboard. The Mini-ITX are tiny and hackers are eschewing the usual putty colored cases for some very unusual places. There is a website dedicated to Mini-ITX systems here To give you an idea about what we are dealing with, a Mini-ITX motherboard is just under 7" square and contains the CPU, video, disk controllers, IO and sound. All you need to add is memory and the peripherals and you have a full-blown computer... What makes this all interesting are some of the cases that people have made. Here are two that catch my eye: The Humidor: humidor.jpg The Underwood No. 5: underwood.jpg Very cool stuff... You do not have the flexibility or the expandability of a full--blown system but for applications where this is not an issue, these puppies are great - cheap too!
Posted by DaveH at 8:16 PM

Richard Clarke - book promotion

From the Drudge Report comes an interesting sideline to the Clarke Book 'scandal'. CBS did a two-part presentation on 60 minutes heavily promoting the book and Richard Clarke, its author. The book is published by Free Press which is a subsidiary of Simon and Shuster which is owned by -- tadaa -- Viacom. CBS is owned by Viacom as well. Was this mentioned? No. A disclaimer was added to CBSNEWS.COM later that weekend.
Posted by DaveH at 7:24 PM

Richard Clarke - we knew before 9/11

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice appeared on CNN's American Morning show today. She talked about Richard Clarke's allegations that the government knew about the threat of 9/11 but failed to act. Hat tip to Little Green Footballs In her words: bq. And what Dick Clarke gave me in that memorandum was a series of ideas, a series of steps, most of which, by the way, we did within a matter of months — steps like trying to accelerate the arming of the Predator, steps like increasing counterterrorism funding, increasing counterterrorism support to Uzbekistan. These were steps that he said would bring — would roll back al Qaeda over a three to five-year period. This was not going to address the — quote — “urgent threat” of September 11. bq. We did ask Dick Clarke for a more comprehensive strategy, one that would not just seek to roll back al Qaeda, but would seek to eliminate al Qaeda that would have real military options, not just options of pinprick strikes against training camps that had already been abandoned. We asked for a strategy that could be effectively funded. We increased intelligence activities by a factor of three in the strategy that was developed. bq. So, that’s what Dick Clarke was supposed to be doing. At the same time, he was to continue the Clinton administration strategy until we got a new strategy in place. bq. But what’s very interesting is that, of course, Dick Clarke was the counterterrorism czar in 1998 when the embassies were bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar in 2000 when the Cole was bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar for a period of the ‘90s when al Qaeda was strengthening and when the plots that ended up in September 11 were being hatched. Emperor Misha has a great outline of Richard's job performance - I'm excerpting and starting at the end of the Clinton years: bq. But all good things must come to an end, and Dick's fifteen minutes eventually ran out. A new administration came to town and on one September morning all Hell broke loose. Not only that, Dick had barely gotten around to order out for pizza and call his usual hooker when, all of a sudden, he was expected to know something about his job. bq. He tried bravely to keep up a nice facade, but it didn't work, and pretty soon he found himself washing Mulder's jockstraps in the basement, so he, er, "resigned". bq. All of a sudden, he was no longer a hotshot, just another burnt out has-been, and a has-been that nobody really knew what had been, if he had, indeed, been anything at all. Man, did that STING! After a while, he even got to missing the musty smell of the basement and the odor of Mulder's socks, that's how bad it was, and he'd spend night after lonely night hating, HATING the man that had taken what he felt was his birthright away from him. bq. "Oh, I'm going to get him, I'm going to get him GOOD!", little Dickie thought to himself as he slumped over the kitchen table with an almost empty bottle of cheap scotch in his left hand, "one of these days, I'll be known all over the country and people will once again worship me and hang on my every word", and then he'd pass out as his cigarette burned another hole in the table. A book... This will blow over too. Nothing to see folks -- move along.
Posted by DaveH at 7:11 PM

Dumb Criminal

From WNBC: bq. Burglary Suspects Hit Police Car, Flee To Police Lot Two men suspected of driving a stolen vehicle into a police car and then fleeing made another wrong move -- right to a police parking lot. bq. Pennsauken Police Chief John Coffey heard a call Friday that officers were chasing two men who had broken into a car. He looked out his window and saw the men running, so he and officers went out to their station's back parking lot. bq. "I couldn't believe it," Coffey told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "They tried to come over the fence right where I was standing." bq. Instead of climbing over the 6-foot fence, the two men fled into a field where they hid in a drainage pipe until officers found them, police said. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 4:46 PM

Oil for Food corruption - update

Earlier, I linked to an article by Claudia Rosett in the Wall Street Journal. Now, writing in the National Review, she has been doing some more digging around and finds that the corruption strikes close to the top - very close to the top. Meet Kojo Annan - son of Kofi Annan: bq. With United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan finally conceding the need for an independent investigation of the U.N.'s 1996-2003 Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, the next question is how investigators might begin to get a grip on the U.N.'s central role in this huge scandal. And more: bq. It would also be prudent, if only to clear up any doubts, for investigators to look into the relationship between Annan's son, Kojo Annan, and the Swiss-based company, Cotecna Inspection SA, which two years into the seven-year Oil-for-Food program won a contract from the U.N. for the pivotal job of inspecting all Oil-for-Food shipments into Iraq — a responsibility Cotecna has held ever since. Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid-1990s, a possible conflict of interest which neither Cotecna nor the U.N. bothered to declare. It's a longish article so I'm cherry-picking a few excerpts. Here, she is writing about where to start in a proposed investigation and why that may prove difficult: bq. In any event, the first practical step should be to secure the U.N.'s own records of Oil-for-Food. In Baghdad, Oil-for-Food-related documents kept by Saddam have already proven a source of damning information and are under investigation. The Iraqi Governing Council has already commissioned a report by the private accounting firm KPMG International, due out in a few months. And U.S. administrators in Baghdad have now frozen the records there relating to Oil-for-Food, to help with congressional inquiries in advance of hearings expected next month. bq. But at the U.N.'s New York headquarters, not all records have been rendered up. The U.N. treasurer's office still controls the Oil-for-Food bank accounts, held in the French bank, BNP Paribas. And, the U.N. still has in its keeping all U.N. records of these BNP accounts, according to officials both in Baghdad and at the U.N. More on the UN accounts themselves - how much? bq. Through these accounts passed more than $100 billion in U.N.-approved oil sales and relief purchases made by Saddam, and toward the end of the U.N.'s administration of Oil-for-Food, they held balances of more than $12 billion. Has the money been disbursed properly? bq. Outside the U.N. these bank accounts have long been a source of some mystery. The U.N. has refused to disclose BNP statements, or the amount of interest paid on those balances of billions. Even such directly concerned parties as the Kurdish regional authorities of northern Iraq — entitled to 13 percent of the proceeds of Saddam's Oil-for-Food sales — who for years have been requesting a look at the books, have received no details. Excellent in-depth study of the corruption at the heart of the U.N.
Posted by DaveH at 3:53 PM

VP Cheney's Wife - Author

It seems that in 1981, Lynne Cheney wrote a book. A romance. A very interesting romance. The website has excerpts...
Posted by DaveH at 11:56 AM

British Surgeon suspended

From the BBC comes this chilling tale of a prominent Neurosurgeon suspended. The reason? bq. He is alleged to have taken an extra helping of croutons without paying for them, according to the Daily Mail. And the hospital's reply to this? bq. A spokeswoman for the Queen's Medical Centre NHS Trust said: "A consultant was suspended on Wednesday following an alleged incident at the hospital which did not relate to any patient or another member of staff. bq. "The matter will now be discussed as soon as possible with the consultant involved. In the meantime the trust is not prepared to talk any further. bq. "This type of matter would normally remain confidential in order to support and protect the individual involved and it would be inappropriate to compromise that by going into any greater detail." Pure unadulterated management--speak. Dilbert lives!
Posted by DaveH at 11:48 AM

Airport Codes

From comes a link to this article on the origin lf the Airport Codes. bq. From ABE (Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, Pennsylvania) to ZRH (Zurich, Switzerland), airports around the world are universally known by a unique three-letter code: the "Location Identifier" in aviation-speak. It's obviously much easier for pilots, controllers, travel agents, frequent flyers, computers and baggage handlers to say and write ORD than the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois -- but how did this practice start, and why are some airport codes easy to understand (ABE and ZRH) while others seem to make absolutely no sense (ORD)?
Posted by DaveH at 11:29 AM

More Madrid Bombing arrests

As Spanish police continue their investigations, they track down and nab four more suspects. From the Guardian: bq. Spanish police have arrested four more suspects in the Madrid train attacks, bringing the total in custody to 14, it emerged today. And more: bq. Three of the new suspects were picked up in the Madrid district of Lavapies, the neighbourhood where one of the suspects, Jamal Zougam, ran a mobile phone shop, and the fourth arrest was made in the capital's Getafe suburb. Didn't know that one of the suspects ran a mobile phone shop - the bombs were triggered by someone calling in to a cell phone. Fatal ring-tone...
Posted by DaveH at 11:23 AM

New HDV Camcorder

From Gizmodo comes this link to this announcement in Cinematography magazine of the new Sony 3-CCD HDV Camcorder. There are no hard engineering specs but it looks really good and since Sony is labeling it as High Definition Video, it has to meet some pretty impressive specs. Price is expected to be under $5K US. They just keep getting better and cheaper - I love it!!!
Posted by DaveH at 11:19 AM

Taiwan Election problems

From the CS Monitor comes this story of Election drama and cries of Fraud: bq. Taiwan is in the midst of a postelection political crisis, with the losing Kuomintang Party staging a noisy sit-in in front of the presidential palace with posters asking "Where's my vote?" As early as Monday, the high court may appoint a judge to decide if evidence exists to block a May 20 inauguration of President Chen Shui-bian. bq. Sunday's protests followed a dramatic 48 hours in which Mr. Chen weathered a gunshot wound and won by a narrow 30,000 vote margin in the island's third national elections - which were immediately contested by opposition candidate Lien Chan of the Kuomintang (KMT) as being fraudulent. Charges of dirty tricks and conspiracies, has created a sour mood among disgruntled KMT voters and threatens civic confidence. bq. Still, the elections underscore how far Taiwan has moved toward a politically separate identity from mainland China. And observers say that if the dispute plays out in favor of Chen, who has galvanized voters on a platform of Taiwan sovereignty, Beijing, Washington, and Taipei will need great diplomatic skills to handle the high-tension dynamics expected between them over the next four years. Had the less reform-minded and more pro-China KMT won, relations between China and Taiwan are thought to have been easier to manage. The Kuomintang are the original settlers of Taiwan - they were founded in China in 1912. They were politically recognized by the Soviet government but were a more moderate Socialist party. When Mao's bunch of hardline thugs took over Beijing in the late 1940's, they fled to Taiwan. The KMT are seeking closer ties to China. Elected President Chen Shui-bian is seeking more independence from China. Taiwan has a very strong economy and China wantsssess this precioussss...
Posted by DaveH at 11:04 AM

Online marketing

From Ars Technica comes an excellent article on how to promote your online business. bq. Maybe you've created a hot new indie game or a film you're distributing online. Maybe it's a new website for dog lovers in Maine, or booklovers in Texas. Whatever the venture is, you're probably interested in people finding your product or service on the Internet. bq. There are many ways to go about it, but I will be concentrating on three particular methods bq. Viral marketing CTR/paid search (Overture/Google AdWords) Affiliate/referral sales bq. If you're interested in CPM/banner advertising, pop-ups/-unders, search-cramming or other "techniques" I'm not the guy to help you. I've never had a good experience with those, and they're either a) not fashionable these days or b) typically too expensive for a startup to handle. Good stuff - I'm glad that he isn't dealing with pop-ups and that ilk. That kind of marketing alienates customers. It looks 'cool' to the middle-level management suck-up who has his secretary print out his email so he can read it (with his lips moving) but for anyone who spends any appreciable time on the net, these are a pain.
Posted by DaveH at 10:52 AM

Publish or Perish

Interesting article in Physics Today on the Publish or Perish mentality in academia and whether it is a good idea or not... bq. Three recent events, taking place in rapid succession, incited me to write this Opinion. The first was an annual report from a major school of engineering whose dean proudly listed 52 papers that he wrote in the course of the previous year. Such an output is, on average, one idea conceived, executed, written, and published every week. That is an amazing feat for a busy administrator, or anybody else for that matter. The second was a physics professor who was introduced at a meeting as the author of 80 books. This man was not the superhumanly prolific Isaac Asimov, but a professor with a publication rate, over a 20-year career, of one technical book every three months. The straw that broke the camel's back, at least this Arabian one, was a book on flow control I was asked to review for a journal. The 200-page, camera-ready manuscript was clearly never seen by a copyeditor and was mostly a shoddy cut-and-paste job from the author's doctoral dissertation--and worse, from the publications of others. The book offered little of value, yet it was priced at 50 cents per page. The three events are a syndrome of what is ailing academic publishing today. Very good point - I can see that at one time, this was a good guideline to pursue. The publication of papers indicated that the author was working. It has evolved into a race against fellow faculty members so one is now spending all their time generating papers and doing no work...
Posted by DaveH at 10:16 AM

Article Twenty-Two

For any of you out there who still thinks that Hamas is a charitable organization. Here is Article Twenty-Two from their charter - authored by Sheik Ahmed Yassin. bq. Article Twenty-Two: The Powers which Support the Enemy The enemies have been scheming for a long time, and they have consolidated their schemes, in order to achieve what they have achieved. They took advantage of key elements in unfolding events, and accumulated a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream. This wealth [permitted them to] take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. The entire Charter is a piece of work -read it online here. A nicer bunch of people you wouldn't want to meet...
Posted by DaveH at 9:51 AM

Lileks is on a roll today...

Writer James Lileks publishes a weekly essay The Bleat. It is usually good reading but today, he is on a roll talking about the demonstrators in last weekends anti-war protests. His opening salvo: bq. Imagine if you woke from an operation and discovered that your tumor was gone. You’d think: I suppose that’s a good thing. But. You learned that the hospital might profit from the operation. You learned that the doctor who made the diagnosis had decided to ignore all the other doctors who believed the tumor could be discouraged if everyone protested the tumor in the strongest possible terms, and urged the tumor to relent. How would you feel? You’d be mad. You’d look up at the ceiling of your room and nurse your fury until you came to truly hate that butcher. And when he came by to see how you were doing, you’d have only one logical, sensible thing to say: YOU TOOK IT OUT FOR THE WRONG REASONS. PUT IT BACK! He talks about the left and their reaction to current events: bq. This has nothing to do with Iraq. This is all about the hard left’s worse nightmare. For years they have insisted that every occupant of the White House is a sawdust puppet whose limbs jerk to the strings of International Finance (cough Jews cough) and this satisfies the faithful; the President doesn’t have to be explicitly evil to be inherently evil. He’s the President. Say no more, nudge nudge. But Bushitler is explicitly evil. And more: bq. These people want “freedom,” but only for themselves. Freedom to preen. Freedom to flatter themselves that they are somehow committing an act of bravery by Speaking Truth to Power. But they’re speaking Nonsense to Indifference. I have only excerpted a few paragraphs - it's worth your time to read the entire thing.
Posted by DaveH at 9:25 AM

March 21, 2004

Good shooting boys!

Sheik Ahmed Yassin who founded the terrorist organization Hamas was killed at dawn today (along with two bodyguards) when he was leaving the protection of a Mosque and getting into his car. The BBC has a write-up here This person blessed suicide bombers before they went out to kill innocent kids and parents, he founded the Hamas organization which is purely terrorist in nature. He looked so much like Sauroman that comparisons are a no-brainer. A truly evil evil person is gone from this world. Then: sauron-then.jpg Now: sauron-now.jpg Good riddance murdering scum!
Posted by DaveH at 9:23 PM

March 19, 2004

Light blogging this weekend

Going up to the property this weekend - temperatures are supposed to be in the 60's so it will be wonderful. Spending the next two days getting a good start on 1,700 feet of electric fencing to protect our garden and our orchard against deer. We are planning to grow a lot of our food so this is critical. Our property has ten acres of forest/marshlands so it's not as though the deer don't have anything to eat... I will be bringing up a computer and we now have dial--up internet connection so I may post but this isn't likely -- we will be working! Dave
Posted by DaveH at 4:51 PM

Sigma SD-10 review

A review of the new Sigma SD-10 camera is up on DP Review This unit is interesting because it uses the upgraded version of the new Foveon X3 sensor which is quite a bit different than the 'standard' CMOS or CCD image sensor used in other cameras. A good explanation of the sensor technology is also in this review
Posted by DaveH at 2:57 PM

Neighbor Search

Interesting website (Hat tip to Misanthropyst) Enter an address or a ZIP code and it shows you who contributed how much to which presidential campaign. All public info - these people have just done a website that presents it in an interesting way... Check it out here
Posted by DaveH at 1:35 PM

WMD's not found

A topic of conversation today was Weapons of Mass Destruction. It came to mind that FDR faced the same issue 62 years ago when he funded the Manhattan Project and the development of the Atomic Bomb. That development was founded on the idea that the Nazi government was at work developing the same sort of weapon and that we had to race to beat them. We didn't find anything there either. Are you saying then that our entry into WWII was unlawful and unjust and that we should have worked it out diplomatically? I am reminded of the time when Neville Chamberlain triumphantly returned from Munich, meeting with Adolf Hitler and securing the Munich Agreement that if Czechoslovakia was granted to Hitler, Hitler would not invade any more territory. Needless to say, Winston Churchill was not happy at this appeasement and his speech on this is a classic: bq. "And do not suppose this is the end," he warned. "This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in olden time." We all know the outcome of the 1938 Munich Agreement - it took seven years of warfare and the intervention of the United States to set things right. And things are sliding down the slippery slope yet again...
Posted by DaveH at 1:09 PM

Root causes of terrorism

There is a thought-provoking essay over at Steven DenBeste's website on the root causes of terrorism and: bq. Would Al Qaeda have been shut down sooner / more thoroughly if Iraq hadn't drawn our attention and resources? bq. The question Vinod is facing is an example of one which buries a false assumption, such that any direct answer to the question grants the assumption. In this case, the assumption is, "The goal of this war is to eliminate al Qaeda." bq. That's wrong. That's part of what we're trying to do, but it is not the primary goal. The real goal is to eliminate the true source of the danger which faces us, the root cause, as it were. al Qaeda arose out of that true source, but is not the actual source. Since al Qaeda represents an imminent threat, it must be dealt with. But if we only deal with al Qaeda, then something else will emerge to take its place and more of us will die in terrorist attacks. bq. I described our true objectives in this war and the real strategy we're following, as well as how the invasion of Iraq was an essential part of executing that strategy, here. bq. The real root cause is Arab failure, Arab shame at that failure, and Arab anger lashing out at us because our success makes their failure starkly clear. Steven then points to a recent essay by Thomas Sowell: bq. There are only 18 computers per thousand persons in the Arab world, compared to 78 per thousand persons worldwide. Fewer than 400 industrial patents were issued to people in the Arab countries during the last two decades of the 20th century, while 15,000 industrial patents were issued to South Koreans alone. bq. Human beings do not always take reversals of fortune gracefully. Still less can those who were once on top quietly accept seeing others leaving them far behind economically, intellectually, and militarily. bq. Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the "infidels" of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise. Worse yet, what the whole world sees with their own eyes tells them that the Middle East has made few contributions to human advancement in our times. bq. Even Middle Eastern oil was largely discovered and processed by people from the West. After oil, the Middle East's most prominent export has been terrorism. Please read the entire article and follow the links before blowing this off as right-wing rhetoric. Steven lists fact after fact and although the facts are not pleasant to anyone who sympathizes with the Middle-Eastern culture, they are none the less facts and that does not lessen their impact on the cultures involved. It is possible to resolve this issue but not through diplomatic channels - a fundamental change of cultures is needed. We are seeing the wonderful success rate of this in Iraq and Afghanistan even though the rebuilding processes there are only a few years old. Five years from now, those places will be heaven on earth compared to what the rest of that area is like.
Posted by DaveH at 11:40 AM

Victor Davis Hanson

It is Friday and time again for another essay by V.D.H. here This time he is writing about: bq. Democracy What exactly does democracy -- "people power" -- really mean? Even the Greeks who invented this peculiar institution were not quite sure. Was it just rule by a majority vote? Or did it include mechanisms and subsidies to ensure the participation of the poor? Or to protect the minority from mob rule? Aristotle himself was baffled about what actually distinguished some forms of oligarchies from democracies; indeed his Politics can offer only a hopelessly confused typology. He goes on to talk about some of the democracies in the world today: bq. In some ways these aborted democracies are more pernicious than the old-style dictatorships, in that they use their purportedly democratic geneses as cover for some pretty awful things. The modus operandi works something like this. An initial election follows after the demise of a prior government either associated with autocracy or the machinations of the West — the abdication of a Duvalier, Shah, or Israeli governing authority. Jimmy Carter arrives to certify (sometimes quite accurately) that the election is more or less fair — even as he can say little about the absence of a ratified constitution, free press, legitimate opposition, or bill of rights. U.N. "observers" lurk and prowl in the shadows to legitimize the proceedings, understandably scurrying back to their compounds or hotel the first time some hired goon sticks an AK-47 up their noses. bq. In the years that follow (such "reelected" leaders never lose and never step down), various human-rights organizations and Western leftists subsequently praise the new progressiveness of the "emerging democracy" and turn mostly a blind idea to the predictable theft, killing, and lawlessness that follow. bq. So happy are supporters of elected indigenous scoundrels that they issue a lifelong pass, one that has the practical effect to encourage all sorts of pathologies, from making nuclear bombs (Pakistan and Iran) to blowing up innocent civilians (Arafat). In most cases, vocal Westerner sympathizers — a Sartre, Foucault, or Chomsky — are never interested much in real democratic government, but instead find a vicarious delight in seeing raw power employed under the slogans of "social justice" and "national liberation" and expressed in predictable anti-Western tones — democracy providing them necessary cover on the cheap for cheering on pretty awful rulers. Excellent writing as always. I only excerpted a few paragraphs - if you have the time, it's well worth reading the entire essay.
Posted by DaveH at 10:07 AM

Diner serves Spam, Spam, Spam

From Yahoo/Reuters comes the story of a restaurant in Manila that serves... spam. bq. Spamburgers, Spam nuggets, Spam Spaghetti, Caesar salad with Spam, Spam and eggs: the menu at the Spamjam restaurant in Manila could be straight out of the Monty Python sketch. bq. "I'm a Spam lover," said Philip Abadilla, who opened the world's first Spam restaurant in December. "It's always on my mind." bq. While the canned luncheon meat will forever be ridiculed by fans of the British comedians, it is a much loved staple in the Philippines. bq. Filipinos eat 2.75 million pounds (1.25 million kg) of the stuff every year, and woe betide anyone arriving from the United States who doesn't bring a few cans for their relatives. Hawai'ians eat a lot of it too -for more on this versatile food item, go here
Posted by DaveH at 9:38 AM

New Telescope

Paul Allan has given another $13.5 Million to a group jointly run by SETI and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. This brings his donations to $25 Mil. As reported by KOMO-TV, this will be used to fun the construction of the Allen Telescope Array. The new telescope, actually a network of 350 small radio-frequency dishes linked by computer, is being built on about 2½ acres of lava beds north of Lassen Peak near the high-desert hamlet of Hat Creek, about 215 miles north-northeast of San Francisco. Very cool stuff. By using a large number of small dishes, you can get the effect of a huge diameter single dish (very good spacial resolution) at a fraction of the expense. What you loose is the amount of signal that you can capture. Considering that electronics now can detect single electrons with ease, this is not an issue. Another cool feature of this design is that these 350 dishes can be split up into many smaller arrays to do coarse searches of different areas of the sky. If they find an interesting target, more of them can be brought online to get a more detailed image.
Posted by DaveH at 9:24 AM

president of Taiwan shot

Read about this in this mornings newspaper. The BBC has a good writeup on it. bq. Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian and Vice-President Annette Lu have been shot at a rally only hours before the country goes to the polls. It is not clear how many shots were fired in the southern city of Tainan but Mr Chen was hit in the stomach and Ms Lu in her right knee. bq. Both were treated in hospital and have since been released. bq. Officials said Mr Chen had urged people to stay calm and pledged that the elections would go ahead as planned. There is an intense struggle going on here. Taiwan is wanting to maintain its independence and China says that Taiwan is part of China and needs to return. The people who settled Taiwan were those mainland Chinese who fled the communists when they took over and plunged China into its economic and human-rights hell-hole for 50 years. Taiwan on the other hand, elevated itself into an economic powerhouse - it has the 27th largest GDP. In 2003, it had a total of $45 Billion trade with the US. The motherboard and most of the accessory cards in your computer probably came from there. The issue for independence is heating up - the Chinese have said that they will target 500 missiles if Taiwan chooses to declare independence. The Chinese also held Naval exercises (helped by our friends the French) just off the coast a few days ago. Hope that things work out for these people. Had the pleasure of visiting both countries and I really prefer Taiwan.
Posted by DaveH at 8:59 AM

Great Quote

Ran into this quote today, thought I'd pass it on: "Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands." Thomas Jefferson So true...
Posted by DaveH at 8:33 AM

March 18, 2004

You're Fired!

Donald Trump is seeking trademark status on the phrase: "You're Fired!" The Smoking Gun got a copy of the six--page application and has them up on their website. Sheesh!
Posted by DaveH at 4:31 PM

Plan for Twin Towers replacement

I like this one. Thanks to the Inoperable Terran for the link to this new World Trade Center. Rebuild them to look like the originals only taller - make one of them the tallest building in the world. Poke them in the eye! The replacements are shifted a couple hundred feet from the original so the remains can be preserved as a memorial. Very nice design and well integrated into the neighborhood. I never liked the proposed replacement -- too 'architectural' and 'designerly'. Design should enhance and not replace the basic form.
Posted by DaveH at 3:22 PM

Victor Davis Hanson in Front Page Magazine

Excellent interview of Victor Davis Hanson in the current issue of Front Page Magazine. A few choice paragraphs regarding Spain: bq. As for Spain-and I say this with real remorse given their suffering and national catastrophe-not since Theodosius and the late Romans paid their annual bribe money to Attila have we seen such success in bullying and terrifying a Western nation. It is right off the pages of Gibbon in his discussion of how weak, wealthy, and fearful Westerners paid Goths and Huns before Adrianople and Chalons. And this is the beginning not the end of it, as we shall soon see. His reaction to the Spanish Socialists removal of troops from Iraq: bq. I can understand a shocked public acting on emotion rather than reason. But to channel that grief so immediately toward a political end, and have the Socialists almost immediately employ invective against the United States, promising to take the troops out by June and rethink relations with the United States. It is an al Qaeda fantasy come true. A 'suggestion' on a message to send to Europe: bq. Perhaps a very quiet, very professional downsizing of all our troops from the Mediterranean would send a powerful message to our allies that our alliance is based on friendship and mutual sacrifice, and does not rest in perpetuity, but only as long as there is a group effort to combat a common threat. Those circumstances simply no longer exist. And finally, a wonderful take-down of the left: bq. Front Page: Kerry’s behavior, of course, is part of a long leftist tradition of siding with our totalitarian enemies. Tell us a bit about why the Left is now so excited with siding with the bin Ladens and Husseins of this world. As always, it admires the tyrants that extinguish all supposed sacred leftist values themselves. Give us an insight into the psychology here. bq. Hanson: It's not so much that they prefer such monsters per se -- after all, Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore are not dying to move to Haiti, Syria, or the West Bank. bq. Rather they start with the premise that what America does is probably wrong, and therefore its enemies de facto can claim the moral high ground. Lately this deductive anti-Americanism is becoming laughable. Look at the rogues' gallery of our dethroned opponents--the Grenada thugs, Noriega, Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam are hardly national liberationists. bq. While there is genuine disagreement in America over foreign policy, this shrill near-hatred of the United States government is largely a different phenomenon of a very pampered elite in the media, universities, bureaucracies, and entertainment. bq. Perhaps because they are divorced from the real world through their wealth, they demand instantaneously their own utopia for the rest of us 'victims'-- or else. They feel guilty about their privilege, of course. but rather than moving to more pedestrian digs or teaching at a JC or sending their kids to the local public school downtown, they sign petitions and go to up-scale rallies. bq. They resent bitterly that our plutocratic society rewards CEO's far more than in-the-know actors and glib professors, who "really" fathom what this country is supposedly all about. Beneath all this hysteria of invective, there really is a sense of class privilege and intellectual disdain. I excerpted about a third of this interview - check it out, there's lots more...
Posted by DaveH at 2:33 PM

Kerry - flip/flopping in the '60s

Thanks to Curmudgeonly and Skeptical we can see a page from John Forbes Kerry's Yale Yearbook from 1966. Under activities we see: bq. Yale Young Democrats , 1962 - 63 ; and Yale Young Republicans , 1965 - 66 Terpsboy also points us to an article in the blog Off the Fence. The subtitle of this blog gives you some insight as to where we are going here: "Politics, gossip, and witticisms from a Yalie." (emphasis mine) The entry points us to this article in the Yale Daily News: bq. Kerry's leadership in YPU was lackluster performance If you ever wander around campus on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, you may run into a curious spectacle. You are likely to see a bunch of people with seemingly nothing better to do than sit around college common rooms drinking, banging gavels, and discussing some terribly obscure or dreadfully obvious "resolutions." Sadly, I am usually one of those people, and you probably ran into a meeting of one of the parties of the Yale Political Union (YPU). The political union is by no means a "cool" organization. If you ever come to its events you will find that the proportion of people with a fixation with becoming president and those who like to drink on weekdays is abnormally high, even for Yale. Surprisingly, some of the political union people do make it big. The most famous example right now is John Kerry. And just what did Kerry do in the YPU? bq. The Yale Liberal Party, of which I am a member and John Kerry used to be chairman, passes on many unpleasant stories about him. According to Liberal Party lore, Kerry was among the worst chairs in its history. Jorge Dominguez, currently a professor at Harvard and a member of Kerry's Liberal Party Executive Board, reports that under Kerry's leadership the party went on YPU probation. Probation means that the party's leader could not get enough of the party's members to sign a YPU attendance roster. Although getting people to sign in turns out to be a surprisingly arduous job, very few chairmen fail to do it in the end. Not getting enough signatures suggest one of two things: either the chairman faced some unfortunate circumstances or he has some personality problems. According to Dominguez, Kerry's leadership caused his probation. (emphasis mine) And how did the Liberal Party react? bq. In order to get back at Kerry, members of the Liberal Party formed the Dixwell Society. By now, the group is largely defunct, although it still officially meets during Liberal Party reunions and its story gets retold for everyone wishing to hear. The society's major point was to include every former chairmen except one who most people disliked. You can guess who. In addition, the News' article reports that due to its conflict with Kerry part of the Liberal Party split off to form the Party of the Left. And the authors commentary about Kerry's leadership qualities? bq. Personally, I would not let Kerry circa 1966 run a public toilet, let alone a country. Hopefully, today's Kerry is a different man. Perhaps his service in Vietnam changed him for the better. Perhaps time has changed him. But maybe he has not changed. Recently Kerry mentioned that George Bush remains the same guy he was in college. If Bush didn't change, why would Kerry? Interesting insight - as much as I think George Bush is having problems with his domestic leadership (his work on Terror is just fine), Kerry will never ever get my vote. Having this person in office, even for the minimum four years, would be a disaster for this nation...
Posted by DaveH at 1:46 PM

Names for baby - Diot Coke

From Yahoo/AP comes the story of British girl named Diot Coke. Before you rech for the shotgun, read the article. This was in 1379. bq. Archivist George Redmonds, writing in the organization's Ancestors magazine, discovered in his scrutiny of the birth archives that names now considered to be masculine, such as Philip and Thomas, were once used for girls in the 14th century. bq. Redmonds also found that names such as Godelena, Helwise, Idony, Avice and Dionisia were more popular than some of the names now considered traditional, such as Mary. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 1:21 PM

Pakistan Leader Says Al Qaeda Target Is Surrounded

From the NY Times: bq. President Pervez Musharraf said today that Pakistan believes that a high-value Al Qaeda target has been surrounded by Pakistani forces near the border with Afghanistan. And who? bq. He did not speculate on who it might be, but in separate interviews, Pakistani government and intelligence officials said they believed it was possible that Ayman al-Zawahiri — the chief strategist for Osama bin Laden — was the one surrounded. A Pakistani independent television station also reported that it was Dr. Zawahiri. This would be very good news -- Ayman al-Zawahiri was Bin Laden's smarter half, the one who planned a lot of the strategy and tactics. With him out of the picture and happily blabbing away, Al Qaeda will be much less of a force to be reckoned with. And major props to Musharraf for helping rid the world of these scumbags.
Posted by DaveH at 1:18 PM

Thomson Closes Last U.S. Tube Plant

From Gizmodo comes the story that Thomson is closing down the last US plant for manufacturing picture tubes. bq. In what looks like the beginning of the end for picture-tubes, Thomson (the parent company of RCA) has closed down its last U.S. CRT manufacturing plant in Circleville, Ohio. While Thomson will continue to produce some tubes in other countries, the smaller 25" to 36" tubes made in the 50-year-old plant will likely be purchased from other manufacturers. Tubes aren't going to go away completely, but as LCDs continue to improve in quality, they're going to become more of a niche item. On a side note, there are still some very valid uses for vacuum tubes. Audio purists like them because they sound more 'musical' when they distort. Some high-power (commercial broadcast and industrial) applications have only recently seen solid-state replacements. When Russia shook off its communist funk, they found a ready source for their vacuum tube factories. They had been slow to modernise and develop solid state manufacturing because of the repression of the communist/Marxist rule. This proved to be an advantage for them because they still kept the old technology and it found a ready market in the Western world. Svetlana and Tesla are two large companies that come to mind.
Posted by DaveH at 12:19 PM

Love Canal declared clean

The (in)famous Love Canal -- Superfund site #1 has been declared by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to be clean and the site has been removed from the Superfund list of contaminated sites. As the NY Times reports: bq. Two decades after Love Canal became the first polluted site on the newly created Superfund list, federal officials announced yesterday that the neighborhood that epitomized environmental horror in the late 1970's was clean enough to be taken off the list. bq. Hundreds of families were evacuated from the working-class Love Canal section of Niagara Falls, N.Y., after deadly chemicals started oozing through the ground into basements and a school, burning children and pets and, according to experts, causing birth defects and miscarriages. The neighborhood had been built on a 19th-century canal where a toxic mix of more than 80 industrial chemicals had been buried. The EPA Superfund website is here and on this page, you can use several methods to search for and locate Superfund sites. I am sitting less than five miles from three sites. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside...
Posted by DaveH at 12:03 PM

Ghost Guard

A marine-technology company MRV (Marine Robotic Vehicles) has come up with an autonomous water vehicle for observation and patrol. No need to use a manned ship when an unmanned one will do the basic job much cheaper. For more information on the Ghost Guard and some cool pictures and videos, check out their website here.
Posted by DaveH at 11:54 AM

Cool idea - reconnaissance shell

From SF Gate comes word of an ex-soldiers invention. bq. It was 1971 and Charles Stancil was driving back to the U.S. base in Khe Sahn, Vietnam, when "all hell broke loose." bq. Pinned down in the crossfire between North Vietnamese and U.S. troops, Stancil thought he could survive if only he could see what was waiting for him about 100 yards away -- from the overhead perspective the young helicopter pilot was used to. And more - describing his invention: bq. His invention, which he calls a reconnaissance round, is essentially a digital camera packed into a mortar shell that is fired 1,800 to 2,000 feet into the air. The shell then deploys a parachute, and the camera is rigged to transmit photos to a soldier's laptop on the ground as it floats back to earth. The beauty of this is that you get an immediate answer. Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV's) are the current buzz in military technology but you need an hour to set one up and launch it. Plus you need a specialized operator and equipment to drive it. The price tag is also very steep -- a couple million bucks each. The shells are expected to cost about $700 each, they can be deployed by any soldier with minimal training and the image comes back into their laptop without any need for a trained operator.
Posted by DaveH at 11:17 AM

New 64-bit CPU released

From the Ars Technica Newsdesk comes the report of AMDs newest CPU bq. AMD unveiled their new Athlon 64 FX-53 CPU today at CeBIT. Also based on AMD's Opteron server CPUs, the successor to the 64-bit FX-51 gets a 200MHz speed boost to 2.4GHz while staying on the 130nm process. Architecturally, the FX-53 is identical to the FX-51, with 128KB of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache, and uses the same socket 940 connector as its predecessor. Peak power dissipation is 89 watts at maximum consumption. Pricing is set at US$733 per 1,000 units with limited availability to start out. 64-bit computing is moving into the mainstream. There is not a huge speed gain for the average user but people doing scientific or graphics intensive work will gain a lot of performance by moving to 64-bits. It is interesting to watch the two families develop. Intel scrapped a lot of the X86 architecture when they developed their Itanium CPU - the idea there is that the operating system would be able to run X86 software in an emulation mode. AMD has taken the approach of extending the X86 architecture out from 32 bits to 64 bits as well as adding new CPU features. They are operating on the idea that it's better to retain some of the X86 quirks and ensure a much better performance for legacy software. I have stuck with Intel for all of my CPU needs but if/when I move to 64-bit computing, I will be seriously looking at AMD.
Posted by DaveH at 11:10 AM

A near miss today

Earth takes a near miss today from Asteroid 2004 FH As reported by the JPL web site bq. A small near-Earth asteroid (NEA), discovered Monday night by the NASA-funded LINEAR asteroid survey, will make the closest approach to Earth ever recorded. There is no danger of a collision with the Earth during this encounter. bq. The object, designated 2004 FH, is roughly 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter and will pass just 43,000 km (26,500 miles, or about 3.4 Earth diameters) above the Earth's surface on March 18th at 5:08 PM EST (2:08 PM PST, 22:08 UTC). This is close - geosynchronous satellites orbit at 22,236 miles.
Posted by DaveH at 10:02 AM

Teresa dissects a troll

Hat tip to BoingBoing for this link to a wonderful takedown of a troll's email... She opens up, sets the stage and then begins: bq. Then, yesterday morning, I found a perfectly loathsome letter in my mailbox from some guy I’ve never heard of before. He was taking exception to my use of the word idiot to describe A. A. Yngve. She starts quoting from the email and commenting: bq. email: I was sitting here wondering what business an editor at Tor has calling a writer, any writer, an “idiot.” bq. editor: I have the same business anyone else has, and I have no time for people who appoint me to strange roles in their rich inner fantasy lives. I’m not responsible for whatever it is I do in their dreams. And goes on: bq. email: It seems beneath you, both personally and professionally. bq. editor: None of my immediate reactions to that line are printable. An approximate and abbreviated translation would be, “And who the bleep are you?” And goes on - the post is a bit long to quote in its entirety but it is a great and wonderful fisking and has me almost rolling on the floor. I'm going to print this one out and save it.
Posted by DaveH at 9:40 AM

March 17, 2004

Speech by Dick Cheney

Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a very hard-hitting speech today. The Whitehouse website has the transcript here Some excerpts -- he wound up talking about John Kerry's Presidential bid: bq. In one of Senator Kerry's recent observations about foreign policy, he informed his listeners that his ideas have gained strong support, at least among unnamed foreigners he's been spending time with. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry said that he has met with foreign leaders, and I quote, " who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that." End quote. bq. A few days ago in Pennsylvania, a voter asked Senator Kerry directly who these foreign leaders are. Senator Kerry said, "That's none of your business." (Laughter.) But it is our business when a candidate for President claims the political endorsement of foreign leaders. At the very least, we have a right to know what he is saying to foreign leaders that makes them so supportive of his candidacy. American voters are the ones charged with determining the outcome of this election - not unnamed foreign leaders. (Applause.) And one more (emphasis mine): bq. I leave it for Senator Kerry to explain, or explain away his votes and his statements about the war on terror, our cause in Iraq, the allies who serve with us, and the needs of our military. Whatever the explanation, whatever nuances he might fault us for neglecting, it is not an impressive record for someone who aspires to become Commander-in-Chief in this time of testing for our country. In his years in Washington, Senator Kerry has been one vote of a hundred in the United States Senate - and fortunately on matters of national security, he was very often in the minority. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. The President always casts the deciding vote. And the Senator from Massachusetts has given us ample doubts about his judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security. Kerry does not have the constitution to be a President. He aspires to Presidency but he is not Presidential material. A few days ago, I wrote here about the possibility that the Democrats are knowingly picking a very weak candidate with the idea of running Hillary Clinton in 2008. Their thoughts would be that Hillary is not ready quite yet but she would have four years in which to get her face out in the public eye. Interesting idea...
Posted by DaveH at 8:07 PM

Interesting Collection

Hat tip to BoingBoing for this link to a story in the LA Times about Sir Terence Conran and Thomas Heatherwick... bq. For each of the last 11 years, Sir Terence Conran has sent a notable figure from the world of design on a 30,000 pound ($54,000) shopping spree, in search of "things you'd like to live with" as part of the Conran Foundation Collection. When the popular 33-year-old English designer, sculptor and architect Thomas Heatherwick got the call this year, he decided to put a little extra legwork into the assignment. bq. "I wanted to see how many ideas 30,000 pounds could buy," Heatherwick said on a recent afternoon in the Design Museum café on the banks of the Thames, as the river sparkled blindingly outside the all-glass windows. "It turned into like kind of a TV challenge show." bq. Heatherwick hunted the street market stalls, websites, corner stores and catalogs of the world in search of nearly 1,000 objects, which are on show until Sunday at the Design Museum. Very cool idea -- the article says that the show may tour, that would be wonderful to see. This sort of collection is not unusual, in Victorian times, this was a very respected hobby.
Posted by DaveH at 3:50 PM

Libya and the United Nations

Hat tip to the Best of the Web for this link to this Reuters article. They are talking about the USA's recent Press Conference that displayed samples of Nuclear materials taken from Libya. From the Reuters article: bq. Washington offended Libya with its display of the north African nation's dismantled nuclear weapons, an official close to the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday. bq. The White House displayed for the media on Monday components flown out of Tripoli in late January under a sudden Libyan agreement to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction. And the kicker paragraph is this one: bq. "It looks like unilateral U.S. disarmament of Libya and Libya wants it recognized as disarmament under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and IAEA auspices," the Vienna-based official added. Sorry to bust your bubble kiddo but it was a unilateral U.S. disarmament. The U.N. had squat to do with it. Britain helped a lot -- Libya went to them first to open talks but it was the USA they wanted to come to the table with and it was the USA who did. Sure thing, the U.N. made a lot of noises - they are very good at that. Read here and here for more. Basically, we did work out a deal after the initial agreement that the IAEA could come in and verify the scope and content of Libya’s nuclear program and the USA and Britain would do the actual heavy lifting, taking the materials back to a central place in the USA where they would be carefully dismantled. The UN/IAEA would get none of the toys, they would only be there to verify what happened. For them to whine about it as though it was entirely their show and that the USA was acting up is reprehensible. Goes to show what petty little bureaucrats they are...
Posted by DaveH at 1:53 PM

Muslim group threatens France

Took them long enough... Sheesh... From CNN/World comes this story from the Religion of Peace(tm) bq. French police have opened an investigation after a Paris newspaper received a letter from a Muslim group threatening spectacular attacks that would make "blood run to (its) borders." bq. The letter, from a previously unknown group calling itself the "Servants of Allah the Mighty and the Wise," said it planned to take action after Muslim girls were banned from wearing headscarves in schools. And more: bq. "We will plunge France into terror and remorse, and we will make blood run to your borders." bq. Describing France as a country of "wine, pigs, loose morals and nudity," the group said it planned to use attack techniques imported from Gaza and Chechnya that "have never been used in the West until now." Nice people... Here is a link to the original story (in French) regarding the letter.
Posted by DaveH at 1:32 PM

A Plague of Locusts

Literally - as reported by CNN bq. CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- A plague of locusts has engulfed towns in Australia's Outback, devastating crops just as farmers had begun recovering from a two-year drought. bq. The bugs started breeding in northeastern Australia after it was swamped by heavy rainfall late last month, and quickly migrated south to feed on newly planted crops of oats and alfalfa, agriculture officials said Tuesday. bq. "A thick haze of them came through over the weekend and chomped their way through our oats crop overnight," said Bev Dennis from her farm in Tomingley, 340 miles west of Sydney. bq. The oats were intended for lambs, which have struggled for two years with little green grass to eat as vast tracts of Australia experienced their lowest levels of rainfall in a century. bq. "We were just staggering out of the drought -- we are incredibly frustrated," Dennis said. "I just kept on thinking it's got to get better, but now we've got this." Ouch - first a couple years of drought and now, when they finally get some rain, it triggers this outbreak. I wonder if the lambs can eat them -- they are high in protien...
Posted by DaveH at 1:22 PM

Demonstrations in Spain

There have been demonstrations in Spain against the Socialist party... As reported by SF Gate: bq. Thousands of protesters accused Spain's new prime minister of being "the president of al-Qaida" in demonstrations Wednesday to support the defeated party of outgoing leader Jose Maria Aznar. And more: bq. "Zapatero, president of al-Qaida," "Zapatero with terrorism" and "Zapatero resign," they chanted. bq. The protesters dispersed about 30 minutes after the Popular Party's defeated candidate, Mariano Rajoy, appeared and applauded at a balcony. Realization of what just happened there is starting to sink in and some people do not like it... Good!
Posted by DaveH at 1:06 PM

Earthsea trilogy to come to TV

As reported by Yahoo/Business bq. SCI FI Channel, the largest provider of original movies and miniseries on television, announces production start on Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Bender-Brown Productions, this four-hour miniseries epic will begin principle photography this spring in New Zealand. Adapted from award- winning novelist Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea" book series, Earthsea is written by Gavin Scott (The Mists of Avalon) with Robert Halmi, Sr. (Dreamkeeper, Merlin), Lawrence Bender (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) and Kevin Brown (Roswell) executive producing. Earthsea is slated to debut on SCI FI in December 2004. A wonderful trilogy -- good fantasy on many levels.
Posted by DaveH at 1:02 PM

Swiss Army Knife for Geeks

Victorinox just announced a Swiss Army Knife for computer geeks. It has a built-in USB memory stick. sak.jpg Cool idea - I carry a Leatherman and a 128MB SanDisk Cruiser memory stick all day at work. Use them both a lot.
Posted by DaveH at 12:55 PM

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise are teaming up to remake War of the Worlds... As reported in Yahoo/Entertainment: bq. Depending on how quickly the two get a "War of the Worlds" script they like, the sci-fi epic could start in late 2005. Spielberg is now completing work on "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. bq. David Koepp will rewrite a Josh Friedman-penned first-draft script based on "War," the classic H.G. Wells alien-invasion novel. bq. Cruise and his C/W Prods. partner Paula Wagner set up the pic at Paramount in May 2002. DreamWorks will come aboard as a partner, now that Spielberg is involved. Very cool - the story is a classic and given today's CG technology, it should be possible to do a very good remake...
Posted by DaveH at 12:46 PM

Money Myths

Some interesting observations on Money from AMCGLTD: bq. Myth: The deficit is ballooning out of control, and will undermine the economy. bq. Fact: The current deficit is equal to or smaller than those recorded in previous recession years, as a percentage of the gross domestic product (citation). bq. Myth: The current deficit is a gigantic weight on the country's economy. bq. Fact: The current deficit is impressively large at 521 billion dollars, but this represents just 5% of the gross domestic product of the United States economy (citation). bq. Myth: The national debt is titanic, growing larger, and will eventually crush our children. bq. Fact: The national debt currently stands at an admittedly staggering 7.1 trillion dollars. However, this represents just 16% of the currently estimated total household wealth in the United States (citation). Further, more than half this debt is owned by US citizens in the form of various kinds of government bonds (citation). These are just the first three, check the link for the rest of them. Interesting reading and there is no fault with the choice of citations...
Posted by DaveH at 11:19 AM

J. W. Kerry corrects press release

From the Inoperable Terran comes this link to satirist Iowahawk and his wonderful correction of a Kerry press release.
Posted by DaveH at 10:47 AM

Questionable computer company...

Tom's Hardware Guide is a very respected online source of computer information and reviews. Today, they take a close look at one computer hardware company that is not what it seems... Here for your enjoyment is their review of Michael's Computers They conclude with a good list of sugestions on how to avoid being ripped off when buying online...
Posted by DaveH at 10:18 AM

Kerry flip-flopping

From the official G.W. Bush blog comes this entry: bq. Kerry Tries to Have It Both Ways on Issue After Issue In October, John Kerry was one of only twelve Senators to vote against funding for our troops in Iraq, including money for body armor, higher combat pay and better health care for reservists and their families. Here's Kerry yesterday, backpedaling furiously from that vote: bq. Mr. Kerry added, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," referring to an amendment he supported that would have rescinded some tax cuts to finance the war. bq. Kerry's tortured explanation of his vote is problematic on a number of levels, not the least of which is his willingness to make troops in the field pay the price because he didn't get his way on a tax increase. But the explanation also reveals Kerry's troubling tendency to explain away inconvenient votes by simply claiming he voted the other way -- on earlier, less important versions of the bill. It goes on to talk about Kerry's flip-flop on Cuba saying "And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation" when in actuality, he did not. They close out with the following observation: bq. The bottom line is this: when it really mattered, on final passage, Kerry voted against funding for our troops in Iraq. He's now trying to say he voted the other way. On issue after issue, he wants to have it both ways. bq. No thanks, Senator. We need steady leadership in the White House. So true... I may not like a lot of Bush's domestic policies but he is by far the best of the lot...
Posted by DaveH at 10:11 AM

More in Iranian uprising

Pictures (scroll down a bit) and text about the current uprising in Iran here The government is hitting back a bit -- here is one item: bq. Baathists Arresting Young Men Amnesty International also released an alert Tuesday saying 25 Kurds have been killed since violence erupted from a football match on Friday. It also said hundreds of men and boys as young as 14 were arrested in their homes and named 12 Kurdish students from the University of Damascus who were arrested. (emphasis mine) - yup - sterling human rights record there... There are other entries talking about torture, about Syrial's love-affair with Nazism. This is a definite battle between forces of good and forces of evil.
Posted by DaveH at 9:52 AM

Zapatero plans troop withdrawal

From the Guardian: bq. Spain's incoming socialist government intends to stick by its pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30, even though some world leaders have asked it to reconsider the decision, the country's prime minister-elect, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, said today. And more: bq. Others may urge Spain to keep its 1,300 peacekeeping troops in Iraq, but "fighting terrorism with bombs ... with Tomahawk missiles, isn't the way to defeat terrorism," he said. "Terrorism is confronted by the state of law ... that's what I think Europe and the international community have to debate." The unfortunate thing is that Zapatero has this dead wrong. The only thing the terrorists respect is power. They view laws as weakness and something to be twisted for one's own gain -- witness the sterling human rights record of most Islamic nations. This will be an excellent example of 'blowback' and only a matter of when, not if...
Posted by DaveH at 9:42 AM

Perl to PHP translation guide

Here is a nicely laid out guide for going from Perl to PHP and back again.
Posted by DaveH at 9:37 AM

Seed Concerns Donate Data on Corn Gene

Very cool thing to do. Via the NY Times: bq. The nation's two leading seed companies have agreed to make a vast amount of information about corn genes available to government and academic scientists, an effort that the companies and outside scientists said could greatly accelerate improvement of one of the nation's most important crops. bq. The move by the companies, Monsanto and the Pioneer Hi-Bred International unit of DuPont, is at least partly aimed at persuading the government to undertake what could be a complex and expensive project to determine the entire DNA sequence of corn, something that could aid in efforts to develop crops with higher yields, resistance to drought or other desirable traits. We are able to engineer for some traits but we still don't know the entire sequence. Getting a publicly funded government project to do this would be awesome - paid for by taxpayers dollars, the information would be public domain so people in other countries would be able to benefit as well. For people who complain about genetic engineering, they should try to eat the original corn our ancestors had to deal with and see how much they like it. To excerpt from this source bq. It is so changed from the ancestral wild grass that its original form has not been identified with certainty, and it has been so adapted to cultivation that it cannot sustain itself without human cultivation.
Posted by DaveH at 9:33 AM

March 16, 2004

Belmont Club again

Checked the Belmont Club a few minutes ago and found to my delight that Wretchard had a new short but excellent essay up. This one is regarding the election in Spain and the new Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's vow to fight terrorism. bq. The Shield Without the Sword Spain's new Socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has vowed to fight terrorism in all its forms. "My immediate priority will be to fight all forms of terrorism", he said yesterday. But he should be careful not to fight it so effectively as to invite Al Qaeda's retaliation. If Zapatero seriously carries out his program to discommode Osama Bin Laden, the Shiek of Jihad might strike back, creating that which was to be avoided in the first place. Hence the phrase "fight all forms of terrorism" really means to 'fight the lion short of waking him', a task best accomplished with rubber-tipped children's bows and arrows and water pistols. Very interesting comment here -- Zapatero needs to appear strong but if he is too strong, the Islamofascists will use another strike to discredit him and to try to cow the government. Someone else said that the whole appeasement and capitulation may be good in that it will bring things to a head quickly in Europe and they will shake themselves out of whatever funk they are in now and actually deal with the problem at hand. The problem is not one person, it is an entire subculture that has a focused agenda, destroy the west. They have no fear of death and they have no sense of self-blame or examination -- they see the problems of their current lifestyle and they blame the west for them, not themselves. This is a sick, a sadly sick culture and it needs to be stopped. Now. In all of it's forms... It used to be a great culture - time to be great again instead of sick and reviled.
Posted by DaveH at 11:04 PM

CNN weighs in on Iran civil protests

From the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler himself, Emperor Misha comes this story of CNN finally reporting the huge civil unrest in Iran. These are the protests I wrote about here bq. Whoa, the Media "Wake Up" Well, it seems we were wrong. CNN has finally discovered that something is going on in Iran. Uprisings? Bloody beatings of civilians by the theocratic regime so beloved by CNN? bq. TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Iranians danced in the street, threw firecrackers and jumped over bonfires Tuesday night as authorities openly tolerated an ancient fire festival for the first time in 25 years. Misha comments: bq. Yep, that's it. bq. The Iranian people, yearning for freedom, is demonstrating in the streets while the Mad Mullahs, fearful of their lives, are finally and reluctantly calling off their hired hands murdering and brutalizing everybody in sight, and all that CNN reports (via Roto-Reuters, who else?) is how the wonderful Robed Rats are generously allowing the people to celebrate in an unprecedented show of openness and tolerance. bq. If anybody anywhere EVER again says to you that "they heard it on CNN" and uses it as an argument, you have our Imperial Blessings to kick them in the nads, drive a knee into their face and piss on their crumpled, whimpering body. bq. "Journalists", my ass. This has not been covered by the media at all and it's major - 200,000 teachers out on strike, people marching, protesting and the mullahs hiding in their houses. Good news - another domino starts to teeter... The Iranian people are not stupid and they see that we are treating Libya well. They talk to people in Afghanistan and Iraq. They want in on the 21st Century -- let us welcome them! UPDATE: Reader Ric on Misha's blog says the following: bq. Misha, I know a very little more about this, and I'm grinning. Clearly I know more than CNN does, or they wouldn't have spun it this way. bq. Before it was Iran it was Persia, and Persians worshipped, or more accurately venerated, Zoroaster. Zoroastrians don't worship fire, but they use it a lot in religious ceremonies. bq. Muhammad had a special place in his heart for the "fire worshippers." Those parts of the Koran are fun to read, in a gruesome sort of way. You can imagine him speaking, occasionally stopping to suavely wipe the spittle from his lips. Zoroastrians aren't People of the Book, just misguided; they aren't even Pagans, who only need to be enslaved. They are defiant opponents of God and the Good. We're the Great Satan. Zoroastrians are about two cuts below that. Evil incarnate. bq. And the Mad Mullahs, the most intolerant Islamists available until you find al Qutb and Waha'ab, are "tolerating" the "ancient religious festival" of the Zoroastrian New Year? Buuuwahaha! Put it this way: would you, or CNN, smell a rat if somebody gave you a tip that the B'nai B'rith was organizing a pig roast? bq. Regards, Ric Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 10:46 PM

HR solution

For businesses that need temp employees from time to time, a new company offers a great solution.
Posted by DaveH at 9:38 PM

Another Internet Quiz

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Posted by DaveH at 4:50 PM

Prior knowledge in Spain

Hmmm - from CNN/World: bq. A document published months before national elections reveals al Qaeda planned to separate Spain from its allies by carrying out terror attacks. bq. A December posting on an Internet message board used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers and obtained by CNN, spells out a plan to topple the pro-U.S. government. bq. "We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says. bq. "If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto." Granted - Internet Bulletin boards are a dime a dozen and with a little searching, you can find one that says anything you want but this one seemed to be a credible threat and it was ignored. Allah himself weighs in with a very good analysis of the Election and the myths, lies and fabulations that surrounded the explanations for what happened. Since he is all-knowing, he has no problem providing links galore to back up his statements...
Posted by DaveH at 2:50 PM

Cox and Forkum are back

They had taken a couple-week vacation and they are tanned and fit and ready to take on the world again. Case in point: WatchYourBack.gif
Posted by DaveH at 12:51 PM

Arafat blocks peace once again

From Haaretz Daily: bq. Arafat rejects his cabinet's demand to act against terror Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat yesterday refused his cabinet's call to use the Palestinian security forces against terror organizations. bq. At a heated emergency meeting in Arafat's Muqata compound in Ramallah - called in response to the suicide bombing in Ashdod Port two days ago, for which both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility - Interior Minister Hakem Balawi and the commander of the National Security forces, Haj Ismail Jabbar, both called upon Arafat to act against Hamas and Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Other ministers joined the call, warning Arafat of Israel's expected harsh response to the attack and the international community's reaction to the continuing chaos in the territories. bq. The ministers sought the authority to arrest Fatah activists acting independently and to apply all stages of a plan to restore control of the Palestinian street to the security forces. One Palestinian source in the cabinet said that some ministers even warned Arafat that Fatah members might be drafted into Hamas in Gaza. They also made it clear that the PA had lost control of Fatah's military wing in some areas of both the West Bank and Gaza. bq. But according to the source, Arafat refused to allow arrests of Fatah activists and also turned down other aspects of the plan, such as the collection of illegal arms. Arafat must go now -- he is the reason that violence occurs, his usefulness is over. He doesn't care fot his people, he cares about power and money.
Posted by DaveH at 12:41 PM

Light blogging today

Meetings and work intrude a bit. More later in the afternoon.
Posted by DaveH at 11:20 AM

France - true friend of Democracy

This is really unbelievable... From Reuters comes this story: bq. China, France Hold Naval Drill Before Taiwan Vote China and France will hold rare joint naval exercises off the mainland's eastern coast on Tuesday, just four days before Beijing's rival, Taiwan, holds presidential elections. bq. China's official Xinhua news agency made no link between the exercises off Qingdao -- about 780 miles from Taiwan's northernmost point -- and the election. bq. But the show of military strength and solidarity signaled China's desire to isolate the self-governing island before the vote and its first-ever referendum, which Beijing views as a provocative step toward independence. bq. "It's the biggest in scale and the most substantial in content of an exercise between the Chinese navy and a foreign navy," Xinhua said on Monday, quoting Ju Xinchun, the captain of the destroyer "Harbin." And the "drills" themselves - why are they being held? bq. The drills would be China's first to be conducted on the high seas with a major Western power, Xinhua said. China held its first-ever joint naval exercises with Pakistan last October. bq. French President Jacques Chirac, keen to strengthen ties with China and win French business a firm footing in the rapidly growing market, sided with China in January in opposing Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's plan to hold a referendum on missile defense alongside presidential elections on March 20. Ahhh - for the $$$. France is selling out a friendly democracy so they can profit. How -- unnhh -- French... Now, did China try this before? bq. China, whose 2.5 million-strong military represent the world's largest standing armed forces, menaced Taiwan with missile tests and war games in the run-up to the island's first direct presidential elections in 1996 to try to dissuade voters from re-electing President Lee Teng-hui. bq. The move backfired and Lee won by a landslide. bq. Chinese officials have adopted a more subtle approach ahead of Saturday's elections and have held their tongue to avoid driving Taiwan voters into the camp of the pro-independence Chen. This will be an interesting one to keep an eye on... I'll be following up as things progress.
Posted by DaveH at 9:42 AM

Open letter to Spain

Steven DenBeste linked to this Open Letter to Spain and I thought it was good enough to share in its entirety: bq. Dear Mr. Jose Blanco: bq. Sir, I humbly submit to you, that it is bad form for a nation to advertise its complete pussification. bq. In case you never studied the psychology of bullies - which would be odd considering you call all your opponents fascists, so either you or they actually are bullies - in case you never studied them, they are weak and they only seem strong because they prey on weakness. bq. Hence, it's bad policy to advertise your weakness widely and publicly, especially right after a bully pops you a good one. The bully may take that as notice that you are ripe for attack; and that you are in fact inviting him to use your face as a chair. bq. The proper response to a bully, in case you weren't aware, involves scorched earth. I learned this in grade school. When the bully hits you, fight back. Knock a tooth out, if you can. Kick him in the Giloolies. Jump him and sucker punch him if you have to. Scare up a fungo bat, or a C- battery in a sock. Whatever it takes. bq. If you let a bully get away with it, you will be his bitch both in his mind, and in yours. Then it's over, bitch. bq. One other thing. If you are having trouble with a bully, don't stand up, call your friends immoral, stupid and dangerous lunatics, and drive them away after the bully has popped you one. Especially don't do this if the bully has said he's going to wipe you out and take all your shit, and make your girlfriend his girlfriend. And really, truly especially don't do this if your friends are just about the only people around who actually enjoy beating the fuck out of bullies. bq. That's all I gots. Unlike you, I'm a simplistic American. No sophistication, no smarts, no culture, no couth, and one less friend than yesterday. But you know, for all that, I have one thing: I know that a punch in the gob from a man sworn to eviscerate you is a punch in the gob's worth of forplay for a real screwing over, not a rough, affectionate kiss. And knowing that has gotta be worth something. I'll tell you how much in a year or two, when you are looking for some way to capitulate to Al Qaida's next demand. Kind of sums it up...
Posted by DaveH at 8:58 AM

March 15, 2004

From the: "What is he thinking" department...

From Yahoo news - none other than Jean Bertrand Aristide just flew into Jamaica. Sheesh - we pull the guy's bacon out of the fire, he whines and flies back. Probably found out that he couldn't set up a fiefdom in Africa and he kinda missed his personal Jet and Palaces and seat in the UN Dining Room. What a putz...
Posted by DaveH at 9:40 PM

Spain again...

I'm in a bit of a surfing mood tonight - looking for other people's writings on the events in Spain. It used to be a great nation - full of fire, passion, spirit and pride. For good reason. It had lots to offer. Now, it showed the world that one attack from a nameless, faceless terrorist group and its population will roll over and vote an appeaser into office. I really feel sorry for the new Prime Minister because his life is going to get very complicated very quickly... The Politburo Diktat has a wonderful remembrance of Dolores Ibarruri -- the Pasionara and what Spain was once: bq. During the Spanish Civil War Ibárruri was the chief propagandist for the Republicans. On 18th July, 1936, she ended a radio speech with the words: bq. "The fascists shall not pass! No Pasaran". bq. This phrase eventually became the battle cry for the Republican Army. In another speech she declared at a meeting for women: bq. "It is better to be the widows of heroes than the wives of cowards!" bq. In September 1936 Ibárruri was sent to France and Belgium to rally support for the Republic. At one meeting she used the phrase: bq. "the Spanish people would rather die on its feet than live on its knees." bq. She became a member of the committee designated to administer funds sent to Spain by the Comintern. Ibárruri was also involved in the destruction of the Worker's Party (POUM) and the dismissal of Francisco Largo Caballero and Juan Peiro from the government and supported the appointment of Juan Negrin as prime minister. bq. Aged 93, Dolores Ibarruri died of pneumonia on 12th November, 1989. bq. She died again on Sunday. I could not have said this any better myself. My only hope is for a quick awakening and a wonderful renaissance.
Posted by DaveH at 9:35 PM

Hillary in 2008?

Very interesting thought in dgci regarding the Clinton's seeming support for Kerry and Hillary's potential run for the Presidency -- not now, four years from now: bq. Here comes Hillary, but not to the rescue They are talking about a column by Wesley Prudin Editor in Chief of the Washington Times. bq. Prudin: You never can tell what Bill Clinton is up to, since little boys in Hot Springs learn early to mark the cards. When the ex-prez sounds honest, forthright and statesmanlike, a cautious man consults his darkest suspicions. Mr. Clinton told his fellow Democrats the other day to give George W. Bush a break. He doesn't think the Bush administration will meet its June 30 deadline for transferring political control of Iraq to a native government, but he warns that throwing rocks at George W. isn't helpful. bq. dgci: What? Clinton standing up for Dubya? Naw, it just SOUNDS that way at first. bq. Prudin: His remarks only appear to have been a warning to the Democratic partisans to ease up. The remarks, high-minded though they sound, even undiagrammed, were actually a warning to John Kerry: "Just to remind you that it's a long way to November. Hillary and I have knives for every occasion, and they're all sharp." bq. dgci: Remember the one driving force in Clinton politics. Hillary wants the White House back. dgci goes on to say: bq. I don't see Hillary as the VP, despite all the punditry to that effect out there. She has no intention of sharing the limelight. That being said, it's in her best interest to see Bush re-elected so she doesn't have to run against a sitting president in '08. -- The Democrat's "heir apparent", Kerry, is likely doomed once Hillary gives the word, if she hasn't already. This is interesting in that it has a plausible ring. Clinton (H.) is biding her time. There is nothing in the laws of this nation to say that she cannot be a President but if she had to campaign against a sitting Democrat, it would be a hard battle for her and I think that one of the main reasons would be that this nation would be wanting a Republican President if Kerry got elected. I'm looking at Kerry and seeing a younger Jimmy Carter... Different upbringing and background to be sure but the kind of person who gets brought into office on PR and gets swept out after one term on actual performance. Interesting times to say the least. The rest of the Washington Times editorial is very much worth reading.
Posted by DaveH at 9:06 PM

More on Spanish elections

This one is from Mark Steyn writing in the Telegraph: bq. The Spanish dishonoured their dead "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, naturally they will like the strong horse." So said Osama bin Laden in his final video appearance two-and-a-half years ago. But even the late Osama might have been surprised to see the Spanish people, invited to choose between a strong horse and a weak horse, opt to make their general election an exercise in mass self-gelding. bq. To be sure, there are all kinds of John Kerry-esque footnoted nuances to Sunday's stark numbers. One sympathises with those electors reported to be angry at the government's pathetic insistence, in the face of the emerging evidence, that Thursday's attack was the work of Eta, when it was obviously the jihad boys. One's sympathy, however, disappears with their decision to vote for a party committed to disengaging from the war against the jihadi. As Margaret Thatcher would have said: "This is no time to go wobbly, Manuel." But they did. And no one will remember the footnotes, the qualifications, the background - just the final score: terrorists toppled a European government. And more - talking about Bin Laden's 1996 Declaration of War: bq. In his 1996 "Declaration of War Against the Americans", Bin Laden cited Washington's feebleness in the face of the 1992 Aden hotel bombings and the Black Hawk Down business in Somalia in 1993: "You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew," he wrote. "The extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear." To the jihadis' way of thinking, on Thursday, the Spaniards were disgraced by Allah; on Sunday, they withdrew. The extent of their impotence and weaknesses is very clear. He does not see a good future for Europe. We were attacked and fought back. They were attacked and rolled over as neatly as any trained dog. My only worry is that we will see something like the Madrid bombing prior to our own Presidential election -- something like that could saw enough uninformed voters minds to cause problems in the future. Time to buy some property out in the boonies and prepare for a SHTF scenario...
Posted by DaveH at 8:18 PM

Bill Whittle - new essay up!!!

I have mentioned Bill Whittle before here and here. He has been hinting about a new essay for a month or two and the first part is finally up at his website here Go read... :-)
Posted by DaveH at 4:55 PM

Analysis of Iraq Bill of Rights

Interesting analysis of Iraq's new Bill of Rights by Middle-East scholar Patrick Clawson: Patrick opens (note - the article was originally published March 4th, 2004) bq. The Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) -- to be officially published tomorrow, when the mourning period for the victims of the March 3 Ashura bombings ends -- includes an extensive bill of rights. Yet, several of the Arab countries whose constitutions offer similar rights have a decidedly unsatisfactory record on human rights. Indeed, the region's poor track record with regard to actually implementing constitutional guarantees may make the TAL appear less impressive to Arabs than it does to Americans. At least as important as what the TAL says is whether the legislation will be respected in practice. (emphasis mine) He goes on: bq. Constitutions are not necessarily accurate predictors of an Arab country's actual track record on human rights. Those regimes with reasonably good records in practice (e.g., Kuwait) sometimes have constitutions that contain the most qualifications and limitations to human rights, while those regimes with poor records (e.g., Syria, Algeria) sometimes have the most liberal constitutional provisions. The Yemeni constitution contains the most potent bill of rights, but it is by no means clear that Yemen has the best human rights record in practice. bq. The Iraqi people remember all too well that the rights spelled out in their 1925 and 1990 constitutions were not enforced. Hence, it would be unrealistic to expect them to have much faith in the new interim constitution simply because of the wording of the text. Much more important than the phrasing will be the implementation. In particular, Iraqis must be shown that all parties will be bound by the provisions of the new constitution. That will not be easy to do during the current emergency period, with its continued insurgent and foreign terrorist activity. The U.S. military now faces the challenge of adopting and implementing procedures that are fully consistent with the TAL. If U.S. practice falls short of the TAL's principles, Iraqis may lose confidence that the political procedures spelled out in that document will determine the actual distribution of power. Interesting analysis. The proof is in the pudding. We are planning to open a large embassy there (one figure put it at 4,000 people!) so we will be there watching but is this the right thing? Shouldn't we maintain a much smaller presence there and stress democracy, see that it is implemented, get the schools open, ensure clean water and working sewage and electricities, open the doors to free trade and stand back and watch the country flourish. The reason all the Islamofacists got their toe hold in the first place is the poverty and corruption. The people wanted a reason for this and they held up the carrot of "true faith" while swapping one stick for another. Get the economy and trade balance of these places evened out a bit and the people will not tolerate this form of government any more.
Posted by DaveH at 4:44 PM

The man who loves SPAM

From the Wall Street Journal by way of Metafilter: bq. Orlando Soto looks forward each evening to spending time on his home computer after work. But when he logged on one Wednesday night last month, he was disappointed: There were 17 spam e-mail messages waiting for him. bq. "Only 17," he lamented, scrolling through them. "That's a very light day." bq. Mr. Soto routinely comes home to some 150 e-mail pitches, and he loves getting them all. The 45-year-old grandfather opens most of them. He answers spam questionnaires. And he buys stuff pitched in spam e-mail -- again and again. "Everyday people call it spam," says Mr. Soto, who prefers calling it "unsolicited" e-mail. "But I'm open to everything." Unnnhhh -- like DUDE -- you are totally spoiling email for the rest of us. If people didn't buy the crap, SPAM would not have an economic reason to survive. I was out of town for a long weekend and both my work and my home email accounts had several hundred SPAM in them. Cloudmark caught over 80% which is very cool (Outlook and Outlook Express only - software costs about $4/month to run - 30-day free trial - details here)
Posted by DaveH at 2:51 PM

Spain election speech

From Imperial Paladin Banagor comes this possible acceptance speech from incoming Socialist Prime Minister: bq. We shall stop now, we shall capitulate in Iraq, we shall capitulate on the seas and oceans, we shall capitulate with receding confidence and receding strength in the air, we shall forsake our country, whatever the demands may be, we shall capitulate on the beaches, we shall capitulate on the landing grounds, we shall capitulate in the fields and in the streets, we shall capitulate in the hills; we shall always surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment doubt, this country or a large part of it were victorious and prosperous, then our European Union within our borders, armed and guarded by the concept of Socialism, would lay down their arms, until, in God's good time, the United Nations, with all its wrangling and bureaucracy, steps away to ensure the slavery of the old. He goes on to elaborate on what the Socialist victory means to the future of Europe: bq. Europe has failed the test. This indeed was the European reaction. We all remember the American one on September 11th. It was the very practical, clear-headed, simple response of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and doing what had to be done in a time of war. And then closes with this: bq. On 9/11, the world proclaimed that it was American. And then we understood the value of such fleeting words. I too had compassion and pity for the Spaniards on 3/11, but it appears to have completely dissipated - much like Spanish and European courage. Four days ago I was Spanish too, just like they were Americans two and a half years ago. bq. Now I am American once again, and proud of it. Read the whole thing - I only excerpted a few paragraphs...
Posted by DaveH at 12:12 PM

Epson Digital Camera

Very cool camera coming from Epson. As reviewed by DP Review. The thing I like about it is that it has the form factor of the older rangefinder cameras - small, easy to use, discrete but still gorgeous optics and pictures. It looks like and uses some of the Leica lenses. 6MPixel. No price given.
Posted by DaveH at 10:53 AM

UN Oil for Food investigation

From Roger L. Simon comes this link to this article in The Daily Telegraph: bq. UN caves in on inquiry into its Iraq oil-for-food 'scandal' The United Nations has bowed to international pressure to investigate allegations of corruption surrounding its oil-for-food programme, under which Iraqi oil was sold on behalf of Saddam Hussein's regime. bq. The move follows claims that UN officials were caught up in a reward system set up by Saddam, which apparently granted proceeds from the sale of million of barrels of oil to friendly politicians, officials and businessmen around the world. bq. Iraq's new governing council has hired the accountants KPMG and the international law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, to investigate claims that large sums of money - which should have been spent on food and medicine for ordinary Iraqis - were diverted through oil "vouchers" to line pockets abroad. Roger's comment is so true: bq. Too bad this is going to be an internal investigation by their own oversight committee. A scandal of this dimension could only be resolved by an examination by respected and impartial outside parties. That is not easy to do, but it is hard to imagine the UN doing a thorough job of investigating itself--and even if it did, the appearance of bias alone would leave too many questions. In any case, we will all know more later this week after the formal announcement. It is great that the Iraqi people are calling for this - that was money taken from them, from their children. That was money diverted from humanitarian aid and spent on palaces and posh life for Saddam's supporters.
Posted by DaveH at 10:20 AM

The final solution

Hat tip to Dog Snot Diaries for this link to this solution to one of the more pressing outdoor problems... Be sure to scroll down about half-way and watch the video.
Posted by DaveH at 10:01 AM

Town almost bans DiHydrogen Monoxide

I had written about possible dangers of DiHydrogen Monoxide here. The town of Aliso Viejo, CA (South of LA, near San Juan Capistrano) considered banning the use of foam coffee cups after learning that this chemical was used in their manufacture. As reported by the Mercury News: bq. City officials were so concerned about the potentially dangerous properties of dihydrogen monoxide that they considered banning foam cups after they learned the chemical was used in their production. bq. Then they learned that dihydrogen monoxide - H2O for short - is the scientific term for water. bq. "It's embarrassing," said City Manager David J. Norman. "We had a paralegal who did bad research." Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 9:52 AM

Megatons to Megawatts project

Very cool idea - as reported in Reuters/UK, about 10% of USA electrical power is produced from Russian nuclear materials. bq. Few Americans realize that uranium once intended to destroy their civilization is now helping to keep it very much alive by powering televisions, microwaving dinners and chilling beer. bq. Uranium extracted from Russian nuclear warheads helps supply about 10 percent of U.S. electricity, according to USEC, which has charge of the "Megatons to Megawatts" project that has helped Russia reap profits from previously loss-making nuclear disarmament. Talk about a win--win situation: bq. PROFITABLE DISARMAMENT "It has transformed the prior loss-making process of nuclear disarmament into an economically effective one," Valeriy Govorukhin, Russia's deputy minister of atomic energy, said in an interview earlier this year. bq. "For Russia, this contract has not only contributed to an increase in international security, but has also been an important source for economic growth," he added. This program was started in 1993 under President G.W. Bush's administration.
Posted by DaveH at 9:44 AM

Election in Spain

James Lileks has a wonderful comment on the recent election in Spain, the win of the Socialists and the terrorist bombing in Madrid on the 11th. bq. I’m writing about Spain tonight for the Newhouse column, so I won’t discuss it here, except to repeat what I wrote in the LGF comment section: you can take the nation out of old Europe, but you can’t take the old Europe out of the nation. bq. Vote against the party that maddened the terrorists, so the terrorists will leave you alone for a while – brilliant. It’s like sitting on a cooler of raw meat with tigers prowling around, and deciding to put down your rifle so you can throw some steaks at the tigers. If you throw hard enough, they won’t come back. James' column at Newhouse is not up yet - the author page with links to columns can be found here.
Posted by DaveH at 9:04 AM

March 14, 2004

Madrid bombing - U.N. response

It is interesting that the UN Security council's only response to the Madrid bombing was to pass resolution 1530. (You cannot link to it directly. This link takes you to all of the 2004 resolutions, look for "1530 -- Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts" and click.) One page long - it blames the Basque ETA group. It expresses deepest sympathy, urges all States to cooperate and expresses its reinforced determination to combat all forms of terrorism... Business as usual...
Posted by DaveH at 11:46 PM

Madrid bombing - more info

From an unusual source - WikiPedia has an entry for the March 11 attacks and it's being updated regularly and with seeming accuracy (there are lots of links that point to verifiable sources)
Posted by DaveH at 11:38 PM

Situation in Iran

There is an interesting thread going on at Activist Chat. There are a lot of teachers strikes, student demonstrations, police activity there. None of this is reported in the US media (or course) but when you have 200,000 teachers on strike, this is news. Strange that the coverage should be so one-sided...
Posted by DaveH at 10:16 PM

Madrid bombing - another view

Charles at Little Green Footballs has an interesting observation on Al Qaeda tactics and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. bq. The best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy’s plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city. This is just what they did. Spain was a major friend to the USA during the Iraq mission. The government suffered a lot of criticism from this and now, it is payback time -- this is the eve of a national election and the choice is to re-elect PP Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar or Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and with 96% of the polls in, it looks like the Socialists have won. This is a major loss for Spain and if the Islamofacists take this lesson home, they will try the same thing here a week or two before our Presidential election. England is up for a vote this year too...
Posted by DaveH at 8:05 PM

Madrid Bombing - terrorism

I was out of town when the Madrid bombing happened last week so didn't get a chance to write about it. Wretchard over at The Belmont Club did it so well that I'm just going to link to what he said. He opens with the following: bq. The Ichneumon Wasp The European left has reacted to news that the suspects in the March 3 Madrid train massacre were Moroccans by blaming the United States, representing it as the vengeance of Al Qaeda which Spain brought on itself for helping America in Iraq. It was natural that Osama, who remembers the fall of the Abassid caliphate well, should recall how the Mongols erected a tower of skulls before every city sacked before sending word ahead that any resistance would suffer the same fate. And so the Spanish victims caused their own deaths by being tardy in submission. The Left is now the messenger boy of Islamofacism. They know their place. And he closes with a bit that starts: bq. Steven Jay Gould, in arguing for the existence of natural evil, could find no better analogy than the ichneumon wasp, after which the monster in Alien was modeled, and which not coincidentally describes Islamofacism and its Leftist helpers. The description of the wasp parallels any description of Islamofacism and it's predatory relationship with the left so closely it gives me the chills. Read it.
Posted by DaveH at 7:47 PM

Museum of Retro Technology

Douglas Self is a noted English electronics designer of audio circuitry and while browsing his website, I noticed that he also maintains a wonderful museum of Retro Technology here Check out the Hot Air Gramophone, Rotating Steam Boilers and The Still Steam-Diesel Engine. These are all real inventions that someone built at one time. Fun stuff!
Posted by DaveH at 7:36 PM

DARPA race ends without winner

DARPA sponsored what sounded like a wonderful idea for a race - entries would be autonomous motor vehicles and the racecourse would be the open desert - starting at Barstow, CA and driving across the Mojave Desert for 150 miles, with a finish line in Las Vegas. The purse was One Million Dollars. The race took place and unfortunately, no one crossed the finish line - the farthest that anyone got was seven miles. CNN has a writeup here Slashdot had some info here (scroll down for the comments) The two teams who tied at seven miles are RedTeam and SciAutonics This should be interesting if DARPA sponsors it again next year...
Posted by DaveH at 7:19 PM

Kerry flip-flop on Cuba

Interesting fact brought to light over on the DGCI website. From a press interview with The Miami Herald: bq. John Kerry had just pumped up a huge crowd in downtown West Palm Beach, promising to make the state a battleground for his quest to oust President Bush, when a local television journalist posed the question that any candidate with Florida ambitions should expect: bq. What will you do about Cuba? An excerpt of Kerry's reply is this: bq. Kerry volunteered: "And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.'' Only problem is this: bq. There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it. Kerry should have known this sort of question would be asked in Miami and he should have remembered critical facts. To be mistaken about something is one thing but to outright lie is another. Presidential material for sure...
Posted by DaveH at 6:25 PM

Back in town again

Took a long weekend off - went up Wednesday and dug 200 holes for the new apple trees. More info on the Brown Snout website. Back in town for a full week this time. Blogging will resume in an hour or two.
Posted by DaveH at 6:19 PM

March 10, 2004

Fonts used in Disney parks

Thanks to BoingBoing, here is a link to all the fonts used in the Disney parks, print materials, logos, etc... This list has links to commercial versions, freeware versions, other font resources, etc... Fun stuff for DTPing.
Posted by DaveH at 4:57 PM

Follow the money - more

Was reading the Wall Street Journal's excellent online Opinion Journal today and ran into this editorial which examines the relationship between J. F. Kerry's wife (Heinz), the Heinz's donation of money to the Tides Center and the Tides Center's funding of the group Peaceful Tomorrows which is running anti-Bush advertisements supporting Kerry's Presidential bid. The interesting thing here is that as a 501c3 non-profit, the Tides Center cannot fund any political organizations and yet, we seem to have money coming into a group that is doing its best to discredit a standing President... UPDATE: The New York Post also has an article on this today. Good to see this gaining awareness.
Posted by DaveH at 2:45 PM

March 9, 2004

Celebrity Math Guru

We all know that Britney Spears is one of the worlds leading experts on Semiconductor Physics (That touring stuff? She does it to buy more lab equipment). We have another one. Meet Danica McKellar, star on West Wing and co-author on a proof. Only difference? This one is for real...
Posted by DaveH at 11:19 PM

John Coltrane's house saved

From the Dix Hills (near Huntington, New York - 30 miles from Manhattan) website bq. The Huntington Historic Preservation Board unanimously voted last night to recommend that the town board designate the former house of jazz legend John Coltrane in Dix Hills as a historic landmark. bq. Local preservationists had pushed the town to save the house, which was threatened with demolition since it was sold in 2002 to a developer who planned to tear it down and put up a pair of new homes. bq. The four-bedroom high ranch, which sits on three acres on Candlewood Path, was Coltrane’s home from 1964 until his death in 1967. It was in that house that Coltrane wrote one of his famous works, “A Love Supreme,” which went on to sell more than a million copies. The town board is to schedule a hearing to consider the matter. This is very cool - I'm not that much into contemporary Jazz but a few artists I really like - the work that John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra did is pure unadulterated magic. More on the house (photos too) and the drive to save it here
Posted by DaveH at 10:36 PM

Secure eVoting - yeah... right...

From Yahoo News comes this sordid tale of modern election fraud: Excerpting from a longer article: bq. In 21 precincts where the problem was most acute, there were more ballots cast than registered voters. bq. Wide margins in most races seem likely to spare the county the need for a costly revote. But the problems, which county officials have blamed on insufficient training for poll workers, are a strong indication of the pitfalls facing officials as they try to bring new election technology online statewide. More cases of human error (and bad training) than outright attempts at fraud but still, a system this vulnerable leaves itself wiiide open for a dedicated attempt.
Posted by DaveH at 10:02 PM

World's largest RAM disk

As reported by TechWorld with a tip 'o the hat to Slashdot The USA Government just purchased the worlds largest RAM disk. A RAM disk is a device that looks like a hard disk drive to the host computer but it is made from solid-state memory chips and not rotating platters and mechanical read/write heads. Speed, speed and more speed are the benefits. The company that made this -- Texas Memory Systems has a description of the basic product here and they are quoting performance of 2 million random I/O requests per second. The unit supplied to the government is 2.5 Terrabytes capacity. That is a big database! 1 Gigabyte = 1024 Megabyte. 1 Terrabyte = 1024 Gigabytes.
Posted by DaveH at 2:59 PM

PLO Leader dies in Iraq

From FOX News comes this story: bq. Mohammed Abul Abbas, head of a Palestinian splinter group and mastermind of the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro passenger ship in which an American tourist was killed, has died in U.S. custody in Iraq, Palestinian and U.S. officials said Tuesday. And more: bq. Abbas was captured in Iraq in April by U.S. forces. Late Tuesday, officials in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Abbas had died in U.S. custody. bq. In Washington, a U.S. official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Abul Abbas died recently of natural causes while in U.S. custody. The official said his health had been deteriorating. We had him since April of last year so it wasn't like he was being tortured or anything -- we have accounts from Guantanamo saying that we treat our prisoners well. The U.S. official says deteriorating health and death from natural causes and I would believe this. Wonder how long it will take the moonbats to spin a different story. And what the #@$& was he doing in Iraq anyway - isn't this supposed to be an Iraqi problem ( the insurgents I mean), there aren't any outside agitators coming in after all... [/sarcasm] UPDATE: RIght on schedule we have this More spew to follow probably...
Posted by DaveH at 1:50 PM

The Copenhagen Consensus

From The Economist comes the story of an interesting group of people and: bq. A modest undertaking Governments have limited resources for addressing the world's economic challenges. What should come first? bq. This week, Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute, together with The Economist, announced plans to ask some of the world's leading economic thinkers a very awkward question. Policymakers face enormous demands on their aid budgets—and on their intellectual and political capital as well—when they try to confront the many daunting challenges of economic development and underdevelopment. Climate change, war, disease, financial instability and more all clamour for attention, and for remedies or palliatives that cost money. Given that resources are limited, the question is this: What should come first? Where, among all the projects that governments might undertake to make the world a better place, are the net returns to their efforts likely to be greatest? The topics of discussion are: bq. Climate change, Communicable diseases, Armed conflicts, Education, Financial instability, Governance and corruption, Malnutrition and hunger, Population and migration, Sanitation and water and Subsidies and trade barriers. The group is headed by Bjorn Lomborg (“The Skeptical Environmentalist”). Looks interesting. The premise is very true - nations have limited resources and where should the money and time be spent - what will do the greatest good... Something to follow for future blogs. Also, I had written about Lomborg before - his book came under massive attack but he was exonerated last December The group's website is here although as of this writing, it was down. Lomborg's website is here
Posted by DaveH at 11:40 AM

Beautiful Bugs

Some amazing Insect photography here Hat tip to MetaFilter
Posted by DaveH at 10:18 AM

Victor Davis Hanson - his blog!

One of my favorite authors - Victor Davis Hanson now has his own Blog. Hat tip to Little Green Footballs He is starting a series of writings for this blog and he also has links to archived articles from his NRO, WSJ and City columns. Very good news!
Posted by DaveH at 9:11 AM

March 8, 2004

Papers for Publication

From Notional Slurry comes a wonderful take-down on academic papers and scientific publications in general... Just a taste: bq. I am reviewing manuscripts. Because I am a kind person, I am reviewing something like three dozen of them this Spring for the Summer conference season. I may be reviewing yours. Or, because I hope to remain a kind person, and odds therefore favor me reviewing even more papers in future years, I may in future review one of your manuscripts. bq. I want to give you a bit of advice. Two bits, in fact: no, and no. bq. Oh, what the heck, here’s what they mean in context: bq. 1. If you believe that your special super-duper method or algorithm is better than anybody else’s specifically because you thought it up yourself, and one night you coded it up yourself and ran a few runs and therefore are submitting an eight-page manuscript to an international conference to the effect that “Linear Agent-based Representation with Pseudomunging Outperforms Really Old-fashioned Simple 1960s Representations From My First-year Textbook, Well At Least for Descartes’ Snooker Problem with Boolean Boundary Conditions (Most of the Time)”, I will roll the manuscript up and hit you on the nose with it. And I will say, “No!” in a stern voice. bq. In public, at the meeting, if need be. Don’t you make me come over there and hit you on the nose during your 20-minute Powerpoint presentation! I have had some exposure to this world -- both in college and having a small business and having to deal with academic clients. They live in a world of their own. Fascinating at times but strongly decoupled from reality. The rest of the article (and the second 'no') is a hoot.
Posted by DaveH at 9:21 PM

Follow the money - #2

I have written about the Tides Center before. They are a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization that provides funding for various radical left groups. In my first article, I showed how they funded a group called Peaceful Tomorrows which protested Bush's use of 9-11 imagery in his campaign advertisements. I also pointed to an article detailing Theresa Heinz Kerry's involvement with them to the tune of over $4 Million. Now we are looking at Act-MA - to quote from the Act-MA website: bq. In 1996, act-ma was born as an email list for promoting local events in the broad "peace and justice" community of greater Boston. It was an attempt to popularize the use of the already well-developed email list technology in support of progressive activists. Currently, about five messages per day are posted to the list, and now the list has an associated web page where all announcements are stored and available for review. act-ma is moderated by a group of about five volunteers who take turns screening the messages to ensure that they fit the stated guidelines. bq. Act-ma has the strength—and weakness—of not being affiliated with any major organization. Being independent, it has built up a wide base of users and carries announcements from a variety of organizations in the area. But because no strong ongoing organization has adopted act-ma, it has grown more slowly than it would have otherwise. But if you continue reading this page, you will see that they are not an independent grass-roots organization but an offshoot of a much larger parent organization: bq. act-ma actually started as a conference/bulletin board within Peacenet, which was the largest and most active subset of the Institute for Global Communications (IGC). Let's look at the Institute for Global Communications: bq. IGC Internet is a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. OK - now what did act-ma do to warrant inspection? From Little Green Footballs comes this tale of bigotry in the USA. Alan Dershowitz writes in Israel Insider: bq. The other day, I experienced violent anti-Semitism for the first time in my adult life. It took place in front of Faneuil Hall, the birthplace of American independence and liberty. bq. I was receiving a justice award from the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and delivering a talk on "Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism" from the podium of that historic hall. When I left, award in hand, I was accosted by a group of screaming, angry young men and women carrying virulently anti-Israel signs. The protest was denominated a peace event and was sponsored by a group calling themselves by the vague name ACT-MA. Their website describes them as promoting peace and justice and associated with larger solidarity organizations, but there was nothing peaceful or just about this protest. And more: bq. One sign carrier shouted that Jews who support Israel are worse than Nazis. Another demanded that I be tortured and killed. It wasn't only their words; it was the hatred in their eyes. If a dozen Boston police were not protecting me, I have little doubt I would have been physically attacked. Their eyes were ablaze with fanatical zeal. bq. The feminist writer Phyllis Chesler aptly described the hatred often directed against Israel and supporters of the Jewish state by some young people as eroticized. That is what I saw: passionate hatred, ecstatic hatred, orgasmic hatred. It was beyond mere differences of opinion. When I looked into their faces, I could imagine young Nazis in the 1930s in Hitler's Germany. They had no doubt that they were right and that I was pure evil for my support of the Jewish state, despite my public disagreement with some of Israel's policies and despite my support for Palestinian statehood. There was no place for nuance here. It was black and white, good versus evil, and any Jew who supported Israel was pure evil, deserving of torture, violence, and whatever fate Hitler and Goebbels deserved. These people are sick in the head...
Posted by DaveH at 4:32 PM

EBay middlemen

Interesting idea from the Boston Globe: bq. The storefront operated by AuctionDrop is an odd addition to the Montecito Plaza, a Bay Area strip mall. Unlike the Trader Joe's and the smoothie shop that are its neighbors, at AuctionDrop, there's nothing to buy from the two employees behind the counter. bq. Instead, they want you to bring in your old golf clubs, laptop computers, Calphalon cookware, and Murano glass -- and let AuctionDrop sell it for you on eBay. It's an old-fashioned consignment shop, reinvented for the online era. On a recent Friday afternoon, a man strode up to the counter and asked whether they'd be interested in taking 24 pairs of his wife's barely-worn Manolo Blahnik shoes. "Her feet got too big," he explained. The answer: Bring 'em in. Very clever! Despite the fact that people who read this blog are by default, internet users, there are lots of non-users (Luddites!) out there and offering this path to selling items on EBay is an excellent idea. Here is their website: AuctionDrop
Posted by DaveH at 1:36 PM

Spaulding Gray - body possibly found

From WABC New York: bq. Relatives of Spalding Gray have been told by authorities that a badly decomposed body pulled from the East River yesterday may be that of the missing actor. It was found in the water off the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, near Kent Avenue, at around 3:00 p.m. Sunday. And more: bq. Witnesses have told police they saw Gray on the Staten Island Ferry the night he disappeared. His wife fears Gray, who reportedly has a history of depression and has attempted suicide before, may have jumped off the boat. Damn - he will be missed. I have seen a few of his monologues and they were wonderful. A light goes out somewhere...
Posted by DaveH at 12:57 PM

Anyone can have a website

Proof positive that anyone can set up a website... I have always enjoyed visitng the Time Cube when I wanted to read someone elses incoherent world view. Now, thanks to AMCGLTD I can also go here and read Christ's web page. (NOTE: This page is hosted on a free server to there are lots of pop-up adds. Make sure to use a Pop-Up Stopper)
Posted by DaveH at 12:48 PM

Global Warming / Computer Models

From Bizzare Science comes two links: This first one: "Global Warming Lengthens the Day" was written in Feb. 2002 and says: bq. Global warming caused by increasing manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lengthen the day, according to a study to be published this month by the journal, Geophysical Research Letters. The second one: "Earth's Speeded Rotation Puzzles Scientists" was published Jan. 2004 and says that because the Earth's rotation has sped up, it is no longer necessary to add Leap Seconds to compensate. Which one do you believe - the one touting a "Computer Model" or the one touting the actual tangible facts. Thought so. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 12:20 PM


Interesting snippet over at the Michael Medved fan site: bq. And let me state emphatically: libertarian principles are mostly great. I think the Libertarians are what the GOP used to be. The GOP is in many ways what the Dems were in the 40's, as the Democrats are now what the socialists used to be in the 40's. I don't like the trend: it means we're moving in a leftward direction. bq. I think it was PJ O’Rourke who said, "America was not founded so we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be whatever we dang well pleased." Those values belong in the GOP. bq. The Libertarian Party, as a political gadfly, is like 'free' porn: ultimately an exercise in frustration, onanistic in its achievements, and somebody somewhere has to pay for it.
Posted by DaveH at 11:12 AM

Soundtrack for Passion movie

Interesting article in WorldNet Daily about John Debney, the composer of the soundtrack for Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. He seems to have been visited several times while working on the score: A quote from Debney: bq. "I was stretched every which way but loose," Debney said. "I was stretched by Mel Gibson. I was stretched by the Guy Upstairs and also I was stretched by the guy downstairs. What it did was completely strengthen my faith and I have realized something very interesting. I had never before subscribed to the idea that maybe Satan is a real person, but I can attest that he was in my room a lot and I know that he hit everyone on this production." He continues: bq. He went on to say, "I had all these computers and synthesizers in my studio and the hard drives would go down and the digital picture that lives on the computer with the music would just freeze on his [Satan's] face. Then the volume would go to ten and it would happen all the time. bq. "The first time it happened, it scared me," Debney said. "Once I got over the initial shock of that, I learned to work around it and learned to reboot the computers and so I would start talking to him. bq. "There was one day when I had been on the movie for about four months when it really became bad that day and a lot of things that were causing doubt in me and I had had enough. The computers froze for about the tenth time that day and it was about nine o'clock at night and so I got really mad, and I told Satan to manifest himself and I said, 'Let's go out into the parking lot and let's go.' It was a sea change in me. I knew that this was war. I am not a physical person, but I was really angry on this occasion. Interesting -- our minds certainly have the ability to conjure anything but the frequent hardware failures are not something that can be put down to a state of psychosis...
Posted by DaveH at 10:26 AM

The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why

From the Agonist comes a link to an article in the New York Times: The article is fairly long (12 pages) but it's an excellent read and an insight into the rift in Saudi Arabia between the fundamentalist Wahhabists and a growing number of people who are calling for reform. Here is a taste: bq. As many Saudis themselves will tell you, theirs is not a society accustomed to self-reflection. Critical thinking is discouraged. Obedience to the king is the unwritten constitution of the land; as the clerics say, it's God's law. The Saud dynasty and the Wahhabi clerics mutually reinforce each other's authority. It's been that way since the 18th century, when Muhammad Ibn Saud, a tribal ruler in the untamed deserts of central Arabia, struck a bargain with Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a puritanical religious reformer. They would purge Islam of the idol worshiping that had slipped into Bedouin religious practices, unify the competing tribes and conquer the Arabian peninsula. The Sauds lost and regained power over the centuries, but that religious-political covenant has endured and is the source of today's Saudi system. The royal family rules over politics, security and the economy. The clerics hold sway over things social and cultural while preaching loyalty to the ruler as one of the highest duties of the good Muslim. bq. Under the strains of modernization, unemployment and terrorism, that covenant is beginning to fray. On a recent three-week journey through the kingdom, I heard the word ''reform'' everywhere I went, though no one seemed to agree on exactly what it meant. Much of Saudi society still clings to its conservative ways, fearfully glancing at change as a euphemism for an American cultural invasion. Many of the elderly princes -- the oldest brothers of King Fahd who for more than a quarter century have controlled the Ministries of the Interior and Defense, the National Guard and the Governorships -- are divided about how to change their kingdom to rid it of the extremism that leads to terrorism, without upsetting the powerful Wahhabi clerics who regard reform as apostasy and who legitimize the royal family's power as divine will.
Posted by DaveH at 10:09 AM

Game controller and much more

From Tom's Hardware by way of BoingBoing comes this review of Belkin's new game controller -- the Nostromo n52. The beauty of this device is the software that comes with it - each key and controller is programmable. You can not only map the keys but you can create macros and play them back with a single keystroke. 'Profiles' can be saved as a file and loaded when needed. The unit lists on Belkins website for $49.95. I am thinking beyond the gaming aspect and using it for Photoshop and for controlling my Music editing software. Cool stuff!
Posted by DaveH at 9:53 AM

Seattle To Recognize Gay Marriages

From the KOMO-TV web site: bq. Mayor Greg Nickels has jumped into the roiling debate over gay marriage, vowing to recognize the marriages of gay city employees who tie the knot elsewhere and pushing for a measure to extend protections for gay married couples throughout the city. This is one very complex issue - who has legal right to declare that any two people can or cannot marry. I predict that in ten years, this will be a non-issue and Gay couples will be fully accepted and given legal rights but for now, there is a lot of old-school knee-jerk reaction going on and people are trying to stop these people from celebrating their relationships. Sad really - it's not like marriage between a man and a woman is any guarantee to a healthy long-term relationship...
Posted by DaveH at 9:34 AM

March 6, 2004

Interesting interview - WMD, etc...

Thanks to Commissar, I find link to this article -- an interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service: bq. Frontpage Magazine: Welcome to Frontpage Interview, Mr. Pacepa. Let’s begin. As a former Romanian spy chief who used to take direct orders from the Soviet KGB, you are obviously armed with a wealth of information. You have written about how the Soviets armed Hussein with WMDs, and also taught him how to eliminate any trace of them. Can you talk a bit about this and tell us its connection to the “missing WMDs” in Iraq today? bq. Pacepa: Contemporary political memory seems to be conveniently afflicted with some kind of Alzheimer's disease. Not long ago, every Western leader, starting with President Clinton, fumed against Saddam’s WMD. Now almost no one remembers that after General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, defected to Jordan in 1995, he helped us find “more than one hundred metal trunks and boxes” containing documentation “dealing with all categories of weapons, including nuclear.” He also aided UNSCOM to fish out of the Tigris River high-grade missile components prohibited to Iraq. That was exactly what my old Soviet-made “Sãrindar” plan stated he should do in case of emergency: destroy the weapons, hide the equipment, and preserve the documentation. No wonder Saddam hastened to lure Kamel back to Iraq, where three days later he was killed together with over 40 of his relatives in what the Baghdad official press described as a “spontaneous administration of tribal justice.” Once that was done, Saddam slammed the door shut to any UNSCOM inspection. If you think that was good -- check this out: bq. Frontpage Magazine: Tell us about the PLO and its connection to the Soviet regime. bq. Pacepa: The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for “liberation” organizations. There was the National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB in 1964 with help from Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Then there was the National Liberation Army of Colombia, created by the KGB in 1965 with help from Fidel Castro, which was soon deeply involved in kidnappings, hijackings, bombings and guerrilla warfare. In later years the KGB also created the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which carried out numerous bombing attacks on the “Palestinian territories” occupied by Israel, and the “Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia,” created by the KGB in 1975, which organized numerous bombing attacks against US airline offices in Western Europe. And better yet: bq. Pacepa: “Tovarishch Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, nom de guerre Abu Ammar,” was built into a Palestinian leader by the KGB in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War. In that war Israel humiliated two of the Soviet Union’s most important allies in the Arab world of that time, Egypt and Syria, and the Kremlin thought that Arafat could help repair the Soviet prestige. Arafat had begun his political career as leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization al-Fatah, whose fedayeen were being secretly trained in the Soviet Union. In 1969, the KGB managed to catapult him up as chairman of the PLO executive committee. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was also a Soviet puppet, publicly proposed the appointment. bq. Soon after that, the KGB tasked Arafat to declare war on American “imperial-Zionism” during the first summit of the Black International, an organization that was also financed by the KGB. Arafat claimed to have coined the word “imperial-Zionism,” but in fact Moscow had invented this battle cry many years earlier, combining the traditionally Russian anti-Semitism with the new Marxist anti-Americanism. Read the whole thing - this guy is the read deal. Google his name if you want proof... A short recap? The problems in the middle-east were originally fomented by the Communist Soviet Government in order to destabilize that part of the world (the borders are close to Rodin'ya -- the Motherland). Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., these groups have not been disbanded, they are lurching around the political landscape like some Frankenstein's Monster half-dead/half-alive, meting out brutality and death for no apparent gain. This is not "Politics", this is something that needs to be stopped now for the complete benefit of both parties.
Posted by DaveH at 11:35 PM

Hotel Guantanamo

The Eurosoc blog has a link to a Guardian article with an interview from two detainees who were recently released. My favorite quote was this: bq. "The American soldiers ate pork but they said we must never do that because we were Muslim," said Naqibullah. "They were very strict about Islam." Another quote: bq. Asadullah is even more sure of this. "Americans are great people, better than anyone else," he said, when found at his elder brother's tiny fruit and nut shop in a muddy backstreet of Kabul. "Americans are polite and friendly when you speak to them. They are not rude like Afghans. If I could be anywhere, I would be in America. I would like to be a doctor, an engineer -- or an American soldier."
Posted by DaveH at 12:01 PM

Bush's 2000 campaign promises

From Slings and Arrows comes a list of all that Bush has been able to accomplish in these three years of his Presidency. It is not a bad list! Knight Ridder news service has an article which pegs it at a 46% success rate. Not bad for a president who's at war (on several fronts).
Posted by DaveH at 11:55 AM

March 5, 2004

Follow the money - #1

There are a number of people protesting President Bush's use of 9-11 imagery in his advertisements for the Presidential Campaign. 9-11 was a terrorist attack on the United States that killed over 3,000 innocent people and I think that it is very much a political event and not a criminal one. It is what served to change our national policy when dealing with the terrorists who hide under the cloak of "fundamental" Islam. The organization that seems to be behind all of these people is a group called Peaceful Tomorrows. If you visit their website, you will see this: bq. 9/11 Families & Firefighters Call on Bush Campaign To Withdraw Ads Using WTC Imagery September 11th Family members of victims killed at the World Trade Center and New York City firefighters met in New York City today to renounce the Bush campaign’s use of 9/11 imagery in their newest campaign advertisements. Those assembled called on the Bush campaign to withdraw these ads from the airwaves. And more: bq. "To use these images of a scene of destruction and murder in a political campaign is inappropriate at best, and politicians from across the spectrum should know that there is bipartisan opposition among 9/11 families to this type of offensive exploitation," said Andrew Rice, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center bombing. It gets interesting if you turn to the Contribution page and see that the force behind Peaceful Tomorrows is the Tides Center. Literally. You are asked to make checks payable to: 'Peaceful Tomorrows/Tides Center'. The Tides Center is a 501(c) non-profit that channels donations anonymously into about 350 "projects" ranging from Indymedia to Peaceful Tomorrows. Some of the major contributors to Tides include the wife of Presidential hopeful J. F. Kerry - Theresa Heinz Kerry. She has given over Four Million Dollars to the Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania (her family is from Pittsburgh). About a month ago, Front Page Magazine did a very detailed article on Theresa's contributions to the Radical Left. Other recipients of Tides money are MoveOn.Org (which did the videos comparing Bush to Hitler), the International Action Center which has supported Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong-Il and was force behind International ANSWER (readers may remember that ANSWER has been revealed to be a Marxist/Communist organization) Nasty piece of work...
Posted by DaveH at 8:28 PM

Putting steam on fires

Very very cool technology... About a year ago, New Scientist had an article about using steam to propel boats. The steam was injected into a ventrui shaped jet under water and when it hit the water, it collapsed, drawing water in from the intake and blasting it out the rear. No moving parts, unaffected by foreign stuff in the water (rope / seaweed) and efficient. The water emerges from the unit ony a few degrees warmer than intake water so there is no danger to marine life. Today, New Scientist is reporting that the people involved in devlopment of this engine tried it out above water with input from a low-pressure garden hose. They were very surprised to find that the output was a jet of fine water droplets that extended out 20 meters (65 feet). Here is the article: bq. During the tests, a technician squirted water into it with a garden hose "purely out of curiosity", says John Heathcote, Pursuit’s CEO. To everyone’s surprise, the water emerged as a jet of fine droplets that drenched anyone standing within 20 metres of it. bq. The engineers later found that shock waves, generated as steam emerges from the nozzle, were breaking the water down into a fine spray, which was projected at high speed (see diagram). And more: bq. The droplets in the spray are between 14 and 30 micrometres across, about 10 times the size of droplets in clouds, and this turns out to be within the optimum range for extinguishing fires. The device creates far larger volumes of spray than conventional water mist systems. bq. The stainless steel "water-mist cannon" is just 20 centimetres long and 9 centimetres in diameter, and weighs 2.5 kilograms. In tests it was able to project the spray more than 40 metres, fed only by low-pressure steam from a small boiler and water from a hose flowing at about 13 litres per minute. Very cool stuff - small, light weight, no moving parts and the perfect output for fighting fires - no tweaking needed... Here is a link to the company
Posted by DaveH at 5:03 PM

Blogging this weekend

Stuff is piling up in Seattle so we are spending this weekend here instead of in country. I'll be hitting the blog from time to time. Dave
Posted by DaveH at 4:52 PM

Cool JavaScript code snippet

If you have a set of websites that you like to check on a regular basis, this little snippet of JavaScript can automate opening the websites for you. You build an array of URLs in the format: bq. ,"" and insert them into the code. You then save the code as something.html and put a shortcut to that file on your desktop. When you doubleclick it, it will open each of the URLs in a seperate window or copy of your browser. To see the code, click on the Continue reading "Cool JavaScript snippet" link below. PLEASE NOTE: In order for this to display and not be treated as regular HTML code, I replaced all of the angle-open and angle-closed characters (the ones located above the , and the . on your keyboards) with the square-bracket-open and closed characters (these [ ] ). To make the code work properly, you will need to change them back again... [html] [head] [script language="JavaScript"] [!-- urls = new Array("" ,"" add more links here... ) function news() { for (i = 0; i [ urls.length; i++) { if ((i + 1) == urls.length) { location.href = urls[i]; } else {[i]); } } } // --] [/script] [/head] [body onload="news()"][/body] [/html]
Posted by DaveH at 4:32 PM

Bunny on Mars

One of the more interesting photographs taken by Mars Rover Opportunity was that of a bunny rabbit... On Mars... JPL has the story here: bq. Like a rabbit in a hat, the identity of an oddity that looks like "bunny ears" in a picture from Mars has eluded the science and engineering teams. The public, also fascinated with the mysterious object, has asked in a slew of e-mails: What is it? A large (196kB) image is here and the bunny is in the foreground. The article has an animation of three photos showing the ears moving in the wind. It also lets you know where it came from.
Posted by DaveH at 4:18 PM

Martha Stuart stock prices

Martha Stuart Omnimedia (MSO) stock prices just took a tumble for some strange reason... High of $17 this afternoon, close of $10.86. mso.gif Ouch!
Posted by DaveH at 3:27 PM

Naomi Wolf

Naomi Wolf wrote a long essay in the New York Metro about an experience she had twenty years ago when a Professor of hers came on to her and put his hand on her leg. IowaHawk wrote an essay too. Read it here. Caution 8X drink warning. Hat tip Inoperable Terran
Posted by DaveH at 1:15 PM

Libya moves forward

Today, Libya announced in a report to the U.N. that it had stockpiles of 20 tons of Mustard Gas. From an article in BBC: bq. Libya has declared a 20-ton stockpile of deadly mustard gas in a full report on its chemical weapons programmes submitted to the UN on Friday. bq. The Libyans also detailed large amounts of chemicals used to make nerve gas. bq. The UN says the declaration is a major step towards eliminating Libya's weapons of mass destruction. bq. It follows Libya's surprise announcement in December that it was scrapping its weapons programmes, in a bid to end its international isolation. This is very good -- I have written about Libya before. Their switch from terrorist-supporting to western supporting will be a huge benefit for them and will serve as proof to the radical Islamist world that we keep our word.
Posted by DaveH at 1:07 PM

Godzilla going away!

Say it isn't so!!! From CNN/Entertainment comes the sad news: bq. Godzilla taking a break -- for now Five decades after Godzilla first rose from the ocean, this monstrous movie star is about to take a break from show business. bq. Hit by slumping box office sales for the iconic series, Japan's Toho Co. is planning to shelve its Godzilla films after this year's finale. bq. Toho studios' executive producer, Shogo Tomiyama, said Thursday that the latest movie -- marking 28 releases and 50 years of "Godzilla" films -- would probably be the last one for at least a decade. At least there is a chance for a reprieve. He is a classic and will be sorely missed.
Posted by DaveH at 12:47 PM

Martha Stewart - Guilty!

From CNN/Money bq. Stewart convicted on all charges A jury found Martha Stewart guilty on all four counts against her in her obstruction of justice trial Friday and is expected to serve prison time. bq. Her ex-broker Peter Bacanovic was found guilty on four of the five charges he faced. bq. Neither defendant appeared to show any emotion when the verdict was read, though the lead prosecutor appeared to be holding back tears of joy. bq. Sentencing was set for June 17.
Posted by DaveH at 12:43 PM

Mad Cow lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against QFC and their parent Kroger. This is regarding the cow found at a ranch near Mabton, WA. As reported by KOMO-TV, the suit claims that a recall order for beef linked to the cow was issued that day but QFC did not begin pulling the "highly hazardous" meat from about 40 stores that carried it until Dec. 24. From the KOMO website: bq. The Agriculture Department this week revealed that the recall covered 38,000 pounds of beef, nearly four times as much as initially announced, from the infected cow and from the meat of others that was mixed together in processing. One official said as much as 17,000 pounds probably was eaten or thrown out by customers. bq. The only notice to QFC customers was the posting of small signs in stores starting Dec. 27, according to the lawsuit. bq. QFC had "a duty to warn" buyers under the Washington Product Liability Act and could have done so through newspaper, radio and television advertising and by notifying individuals who made purchases using QFC Advantage discount cards, wrote Steve W. Berman, Crowson's lawyer. Sloppy work on the part of QFC -- considering the fear factor over this disease.
Posted by DaveH at 11:04 AM

Victor Davis Hanson

Another Friday and another excelletn column by Victor Davis Hanson. bq. Do we want to go back? The great accomplishment of the Truman administration was containment — especially the creation of a policy to ensure that Soviet Communism did not enter Western Europe. Critics on the right once argued over "Who lost China and Eastern Europe?" and the stalemate in Korea ("No substitute for victory"). Left-wingers harped on American knee-jerk support for anti-Communist dictatorships in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. And more: bq. Something similar to that landmark policy — a Bush Doctrine — is now emerging to face the threat of Islamic radicalism. Despite the current shrill claims that the United States is hated, hopelessly naïve, bogged down worldwide, and back in another Vietnam, since September 11 we have witnessed a historic emergence of a comprehensive foreign policy to confront Islamic fundamentalism and its parasitic relationship with Middle East autocracy — without which it cannot survive. Cherry picking a few wonderful paragraphs here: bq. Liberals ridicule the Bush doctrine because they claim to be idealistic, and resent that force, rather than reason alone, is sometimes needed. Islamicists hate it, because if Afghanistan and Iraq work, they are largely through. Moderate dictatorships in the region slur it because they can no longer triangulate with us to garner aid and a pass on their own repression. Arab faux-intellectuals and their fellow travelers in the West caricature it, because reform will make untenable their hothouse cynical anti-Americanism — as they soon become as irrelevant as Panamanian or Serbian leftists damning the United States for removing Noriega and Milosevic to give democracy a chance. bq. The Americans have made it clear that Arafat's brutality makes peace with Israel impossible while his innate corruption precludes any chance that there will ever be prosperity and consensual government for the Palestinian people. So it is now the Palestinians' call — fair and periodic elections, free speech, and civic audit — not ours. bq. With Howard Dean gone, Kerry realizes that suddenly he must move rightward to sound tougher than George Bush. Finally, he seems to understand that every northern liberal Democrat in the last 30 years who ran to the left on national security lost badly — like McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis. And so Mr. Kerry abruptly will have to talk grandly of what he would have done to make us more secure. Yet a better guide is his own record in opposing defense programs, in harboring a chronic suspicion of using American force, and his own contradictory past votes about deployments to the Middle East. Read the whole thing - they are usually really good but this week is better than most.
Posted by DaveH at 10:48 AM

The price of fame...

One of the problems of running a high-profile weblog is that you will attract the attention of people who disagree with you. One such blog is Moore-Watch This site is dedicated to keeping track of all the distortions, exagerations and outright mistatements and lies that fill the printed and filmed works if Michael Moore. Recently Lee got an email that read: bq. I THINK THAT YOU GUYS ARE FULL OF S*** AND ARE TRYING TO KEEP THE REAL F***ING TRUTH FROM PEOPLE I LIKE MICHAEL MOORE'S BOOKS THERE ALL ABOUT THE TRUTH THE TRUTH CANT BE SILENCED ANYMORE SO YOU GUYS SHOULD JUST JOIN THE MOVEMENT. This email (editied slightly by me) came from a reader at AOL. AOL allows readers to post 'profiles' of themselves so Lee looked this critter up and found: bq. Name: DANNY Location: SOUTHEAST SAN DIEGO Gender: Male Marital Status: ? Hobbies & Interests: SMOKING MY KRONIC Favorite Gadgets: GURLS Occupation: FULL TIME SLACKER Personal Quote: FU*K THA WORLD Lee's comment at the end was classic: bq. A full-time pot-smoking slacker who hates the world. Sounds like a Michael Moore fan to me. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 10:41 AM

Motorcycling through Chernobyl

Fascinating web album from a woman who lives close to the Chernobyl site and rides her Kawasaki ZX-11 through the dead zone.
Posted by DaveH at 10:26 AM

Interesting technology - Credit Cards

Very interesting idea for those with multiple credit and bank cards... Wired magazine had an article about Chameleon Network who make a product called Pocket Vault. pv.jpg When you start, you upload all of your credit cards into Pocket Vault (it has a mag-stripe reader), Pocket Vault then shows an icon of each card on its touchscreen. When you want to make a purchase, you use your fingerprint to turn it on, you select which card you want to use and it transfers the proper data to the Pocket Vault's own smart card. You then use the smart card as you would the original credit card. A cool feature is that the smart card will deactivate in ten minutes so if you forget it, a thief will not be able to use it for very long. It is priced at $200 which is a bit high for the average consumer but it is a very cool piece of technology and I can certainly see getting it if it falls to around $80 or so.
Posted by DaveH at 9:50 AM

Nuclear Nostalgia

Interesting walk down memory lane... CONELRAD is a website dedicated to the nuclear hysteria of the 1950's - Duck and Cover, Eisenhower's secret letter to ten citizens, fallout shelters.
Posted by DaveH at 9:15 AM

March 4, 2004

Cattle and the Environment

Wonderful pair of articles over at Crumb Trail regarding the impact of cattle on the environment. The first one: Ley Lady Ley starts off: bq. One of the most persistent bits of ignorance peddled by pseudo-environmentalists devoid of either agricultural or ecological knowledge is that eating beef is harmful to the environment. Here is one of Back40's observations: bq. Cattle are perhaps the second best friend of humanity, next to dogs, because they perform the miracle of turning inedible grasses and forbs into edible high quality proteins and fats. Both the protein and the fat are well balanced human foods with the proper blend of amino and fatty acids for health. It is little wonder that traditional peoples from Hebrew tribes to Masai tribes to Ogallala Sioux had or still have a spiritual relationship with cattle and ruminants in general. The second article: Grass Economics continues in the same thread but covers the economics of cattle grazing both on pasture and on land that otherwise might be used for Agriculture. Back40 comments: bq. In the US Cattle are grazed on marginal land, often semi-arid land, that is unsuited to grain monoculture because it is too poor and dry. bq. On good land, the kind used for grain production, it only takes 1 acre to support an AU, sometimes less and sometimes more depending on latitude and the resultant length of the growing season as well as rainfall and fertility. Well over half of the grain produced in the US is used for animal feed. A great deal of grain is exported at subsidized prices less than production cost which depresses world prices and harms developing economies. And more: bq. Grazing instead of grain for meat and dairy production isn't a wild, untested idea. The majority of the world does it this way and can undercut US and European prices. We know how to manage grazing lands for both high productivity and ecological health. We can produce food as well as increase soil depth and fertility, increase biodiversity, reduce both flooding and drought, refill aquifers, and reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and fertilizer. bq. We won't stop grain farming, who wants a world with no bread and pasta, but the current overproduction and overuse of grain is ruining the health of the planet as well as humans and animals that consume it. This is a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to most 'environmentalists' since they usually seem to take the plant grain / don't raise cattle line of thought. The grazing of cattle in a marginal field can actually improve the field. To quote from the first article: bq. For eons the remedy for exhausted grain fields was to convert them to pasture and graze cattle on them. Methodical systems of field rotation and leys were developed to allow continuous use of land though that only delayed final exhaustion, in effect mining fossil fertility until nothing was left but sand and clay. One needs to look at the whole system and not just take jabs at a very narrow element...
Posted by DaveH at 5:02 PM

Cell Phone technology

A company named Simeda has developed a product called SounderCover From their website: bq. Did you ever wish you could hide your location when talking on the phone? Ever wanted to give the impression you were somewhere else? bq. SounderCover gives you the ability to add a background sound to any incoming or outgoing call, giving the impression that you really are in the environment where the background sound is normally heard. bq. Did you wake up late for work and you want your boss to think you're caught in traffic? Select the Traffic Jam background and give him a call from your bedroom. Background sounds include: Dentists Office In the Park Near heavy machinery and of course, the ever useful Circus Parade Clever idea - one of those applications that doesn't really have a commercial use but will be very popular for a while. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 3:38 PM

Karaoke old - Movieoke new

From FOX news comes this story of Karaoke's replacement: bq. Nobody puts Matthew Dujnic in a corner. At least, not since Movieoke (search) came to town. bq. Dujnic, a 29-year-old computer programmer and cartoonist, is one of many film buffs who have found a stage for their inner actor now that Movieoke, the cinematic cousin of the popular barroom sing-along game karaoke, has arrived at his local watering hole. bq. "This is what I do in my living room anyway," said Dujnic, who's performed scenes from "Zoolander," "The Breakfast Club," "Fight Club," "Reservoir Dogs" and other flicks. "I did the 'nobody puts Baby in a corner' line from 'Dirty Dancing' — and I'd never seen 'Dirty Dancing.'" bq. Movieoke gives film lovers a chance to emulate their favorite stars, from Robert De Niro to Tom Cruise. Participants just choose a scene they want to perform, then get up on a small stage while the scene is projected onto a screen behind them. Cute idea - simple technology, simple to do but a very clever idea and this is what will make it take off.
Posted by DaveH at 3:24 PM

Dumb Criminal

From CNN/World comes this classic: bq. A Brazilian crook shot himself in the foot while trying to burglarize a bar, then left a trail of blood that led police straight to his home, police said Thursday. bq. Police in the town of Petropolis in the mountains near Rio de Janeiro said they had arrested Carlos Henrique Auad, 29, Wednesday at his home just about a hundred yards from the bar. DOH!
Posted by DaveH at 2:07 PM

J.K. Rowling - new Harry Potter book

From Yahoo/Reuters -- J.K. Rowling was in a live web chat today and got bombarded with 16,000 questions from people asking about Book Six. bq. When asked if the wicked Voldemort would die, she replied in the World Book Day Web chat: "Now do you really think I would answer that?" bq. But she was more open when asked about the magical powers she would like to possess, taking a gentle dig at the global cacophony that greets the publication of every Potter book. bq. "I would like to fly. And sometimes turn off other people's voices," she said.
Posted by DaveH at 2:05 PM

The Woolly-Thinker's Guide to Rhetoric

Thanks to Mr. Hinkley at SemiSkimmed, we now know about the The Woolly-Thinker's Guide to Rhetoric Some examples: bq. Develop sudden hearing loss When your opponent makes a good point, a crushing argument, an incontrovertible case, simply fail to hear, and keep talking as if no one had spoken at all. Talk a bit louder. Lean toward your opponent with an intent, listening expression on your face, then continue to ignore what anyone else says. bq. Do a Procrustes Make the evidence fit the case you're trying to make. Force it. If it doesn't fit, don't give up, don't be shy, just keep pushing and hammering and chopping until it does. No one will notice. bq. Moral One-upmanship If people disagree with you, accuse them of Eurocentrism or elitism or intolerance or narrowness or conventional thinking or scientism or homophobia. Lots more at the website - tools for your next debate... Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 1:55 PM

The truth about New York's traffic buttons

From the NY Times comes this story: bq. For years, at thousands of New York City intersections, well-worn buttons have offered people a rare promise of control over their pedestrian lives. bq. The signs say: To Cross Street Push Button. Wait for Walk Signal. Dept. of Transportation. bq. Millions of dutiful city residents and tourists have done just this. Many may have believed they actually worked. Others might have suspected they were broken but pushed anyway, out of habit, or in the off chance that a walk sign might appear more quickly. bq. As it turns out, the cynics were correct. The city disconnected the vast majority of the buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, Department of Transportation officials have admitted. bq. More than 2500 of the 3250 pedestrian walk buttons that still exist function essentially as mechanical placebos. And more: bq. Most of the buttons scattered through the city, mainly outside of Manhattan, are relics of the 1970's, before computers began tightly choreographing traffic signal patterns on major arteries. They were installed at a time when traffic was much lighter, said Michael Primeggia, deputy commissioner of traffic operations for the city's Transportation Department. bq. The first "semi-actuated signal," as they are called by traffic engineers, is believed to have appeared in the city in 1964, a brainstorm of the legendary traffic commissioner, Henry Barnes, the inventor of the "Barnes Dance," the traffic system that stops all vehicles in the intersection and allows pedestrians to cross in every direction at the same time. Barnes was also instrumental in completing the one-way conversion of major avenues in New York. Traffic flow is an interesting logic problem -- how to maximize 'throughput' while preventing gridlock and congestion at all rates of flow. A local scientist Bill Beatty has an excellent page on his website for generalized flow in a set of lanes and how the actions of one car can vastly improve the entire flow of traffic. His home page is here - if you are into science, it's worth spending some time on.
Posted by DaveH at 1:42 PM

Asian Brown Cloud

From DangerousMeta comes a link to this article in Asia News about the Asian Brown Cloud. This is the result of the desertification through land mismanagement as well as old-school industrial development - factories without pollution control, using high-sulfur fuels, etc... There was a recent flap in the Seattle area about building a new power plant and some people were raising the issue of mercury in the stack gasses. We get more mercury coming over the Pacific Ocean from China than would ever be released from a power plant. The enviros need to look at the big picture rather than blowing up minor issues to get publicity. When compared to these big picture items, their hobby horses sometimes look rather petty, stupid and small...
Posted by DaveH at 9:35 AM

Eternal Egypt

A three year collaboration between IBM and the major museums of Egypt result in this website Take multimedia tours of sites, view photos of artifacts, read historical info. Gorgeous example of web design.
Posted by DaveH at 9:25 AM

Haze Gray and Underway

Incredibly deep website for all things Navy. Historical information, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Canadian and World Navies, photos. Great resource!
Posted by DaveH at 9:18 AM

March 3, 2004

Rebel leader vows to disarm as Marines increase

Great news (possibly) from Haiti - as reported by the Palm Beach Post bq. Rebel leader vows to disarm as Marines increase Haiti's most prominent rebel leader promised Wednesday that he and his ragged troops would lay down their arms, possibly paving their way for a peaceful transition to an interim government and the end of four weeks of vicious bloodletting. bq. As the U.S. Marine presence in Haiti grew to at least 1,000 as part of a multinational peacekeeping force, rebel commander Guy Philippe abandoned the former Haitian army headquarters he had occupied the day before. bq. "Now that there are foreign troops promising to protect the Haitian people, we will lay down our arms," Philippe said one day after he had declared, "I am the chief." bq. Philippe made his surprising announcement just hours after a closed-door meeting with U.S. Ambassador James Foley. He also said he would travel to other areas of the country and tell rebels there to disarm. He still has to prove himself but if he can bring the country around, bring care to his people, bring clean water and food, he will do well. These are things that Aristide did not do despite being a priest... Talk about vows of poverty and then becoming the dictator of a nation.
Posted by DaveH at 10:49 PM

Great news from Iraq

From Alertnet comes this story: bq. Shi'ites, Sunnis gather in Baghdad to reject revenge Sunni and Shi'ite leaders stood side by side in Baghdad on Wednesday to urge Iraqis to avoid a civil war after suicide attacks on a holy day killed scores of Shi'ite worshipers. bq. Thousands of Shi'ites converged on their holiest Baghdad shrine to mourn the more than 70 of their brethren killed in a bombing on Tuesday that occurred at nearly the same time as an attack killed dozens of others in the city Kerbala. bq. Hundreds of Shi'ites waved black flags of mourning and backed their clerics' plea for unity, chanting: "We are brothers, Sunnis and Shi'ites, and we will not sell our country to foreigners." The blasts were caused by non-Iraqi extremists hoping to prevent the formation of a peaceful and successful Arab state in Iraq. That would be the wedge that would serve to unseat the autocratic fundamentalist and corrupt rule in most of the nations there. Cool heads need to prevail now and it looks like they are.
Posted by DaveH at 4:45 PM

Marxist economist

From A Dogs Life comes a link to the obituary for Paul Sweezy, Marxist Publisher and Economist. I'll let Greg say it: bq. Buried in his obituary in the Times is this gem: bq. ... Mr. Sweezy soon left academia. Because of an inheritance from his father, a banker, he had enough money to support himself. Mr. Sweezy later told friends that if he had been forced to work for a living, he might have been more of a conformist. bq. Isn't Capitalism remarkable? It provides the means for trust-fund Marxists to pursue their ridiculous political philosophy. When has Marxism provided the means for capitalists to pursue their desires? Well put... It gets my goat that people like E. Said, N. Chomsky, as well as the whole pantheon of lesser lefty moonbats continue to rail against everything the USA stands for but I don't see any of them moving out to their socialist paradises... Sheesh!
Posted by DaveH at 1:21 PM

Early Office Equipment museum

Very cool online museum of Early Office Equipment wiht descriptions of use and pictures. Lots of exhibits -- Typewriters, Copying machines, Dictating machines, Pencil SHarpners. Lots of good stuff. Hat tip to Metafilter
Posted by DaveH at 1:09 PM

Desktop Fusion again?

From the NY Times comes an article on Desktop Fusion and outlines work being done by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their approach is based on Sonoluminescence - using ultrasound to cause cavitation in liquids and when the cavitation bubbles collapse, the temperatures inside the small spaces get very high. The team did a paper two years ago that caught some attention and some flack for the technique. This latest paper address a lot of that. The press release from RPI is here They got Neutrons and Tritium... More on Sonoluminescence can be found here and here This is not 'cold fusion' - this stuff is actually very cool!
Posted by DaveH at 12:46 PM

Nader - why is he running

From No Watermelons comes a link to Thomas Sowell's latest column: "Nader's glitter" bq. Ralph Nader may have performed a real public service by running for President again, despite the pleas and outcries of his liberal admirers. Oblivious to charges that his candidacy cost Al Gore the 2000 election, Nader has again put his own agenda first and foremost. bq. By doing so, Ralph Nader may at last force some people to actually think about him, especially in quarters where gushing about him has been the only accepted response in the past. Liberal columnist Albert Hunt, for example, says that Nader is "tarnishing a glittering record." bq. Nader does indeed have a glittering record. But all that glitters is not gold. Read the whole thing - it covers a lot of Nader's career and points out the fact that Nader -- I'll let Thomas say it: bq. In one of his earliest writings, Nader said, "the consumer must be protected at times from his own indiscretion and vanity." In other words, he wanted the Ralph Naders of the world to be able to dictate to consumers and producers alike. It's all about him. So is running for president.
Posted by DaveH at 12:21 PM

Light blogging this morning

Work and stuff...
Posted by DaveH at 12:10 PM

March 2, 2004

J. F. Kerry - Iranian connection?

Hat tip to democrats give conservatives indigestion for this link to a Front Page Magazine article examining three of J. F. Kerry's top fundraisers who seem to be pushing agendas of their own... bq. Among Sen. John Kerry's top fund-raisers are three Iranian-Americans who have been pushing for dramatic changes in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Here's number one: bq. Most prominent among them is Hassan Nemazee, 54, an investment banker based in New York. Nominated to become U.S. ambassador to Argentina by President Bill Clinton in 1999, Nemazee eventually withdrew his nomination after a former partner raised allegations of business improprieties. The article also says that: "Nemazee was a major Clinton donor" Number two: bq. A Nemazee friend in Silicon Valley, Faraj Aalaei, has raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the Kerry campaign. Aalaei has worked in the telecommunications industry for 22 years and is the chief executive officer of Centillium Communications, a publicly traded company. And number three: bq. Last year, Aalaei married a 35-year-old recent immigrant from Iran named Susan Akbarpour, whom the Kerry campaign also lists as having raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the campaign. bq. In just six years since coming to the United States on a tourist visa from Iran, Akbarpour has started a newspaper, a magazine and, most recently, a trade association whose goal, she tells Insight, is to get sanctions lifted and promote U.S. business and investment in Iran. bq. "Susan Akbarpour was a journalist in Iran, where she was close to Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of [former president Ali Akbar] Rafsanjani," says student activist Aryo Pirouznia. "She has done programs on Iranian television praising Faezeh Hashemi, and demonstrated against pro-freedom groups in California when Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi came to Los Angeles in September 2000. One of their agendas is to get the visa process streamlined (the old Saudi revolving--door is probably their model -- this is how the majority of the Sept. 11 terrorists got into the states) The article comments on the FBI's reaction: bq. The FBI opposes loosening visa requirements because the Iranian intelligence ministry (MOIS) has a proven track record of sending intelligence operatives - and even assassins - overseas posing as refugees or legal immigrants. MOIS operatives have murdered Iranian dissidents living overseas, and helped plan and carry out the July 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 86 persons.
Posted by DaveH at 9:42 PM

Cool Gyroscopic mouse

Saw this review in the Linux Journal It's a wireless mouse and keyboard (Yawn) but wait -- the mouse does not need a surface to track. It has a solid-state gyroscope inside and will follow your hand movements. Looks great for presentations - the reviewer said it was fast for general surfing too.
Posted by DaveH at 9:28 PM


From the New York Newsday comes this story: bq. Exiled 'Baby Doc' Seeks Return to Haiti Exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier told a television reporter he wants to return to his homeland now that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has fled. bq. "This is my country," Duvalier told WFOR-CBS4 on Monday in an interview in Paris. "I'm ready to put myself at the disposal of the Haitian people." bq. Duvalier had been named president for life at age 18 following the 1971 death of his father. Tens of thousands were killed during the 29-year Duvalier dynasty and hundreds of millions of dollars stolen. Brody said the exact number of killed is unknown.
Posted by DaveH at 12:32 PM

Great quote

Found this quote on the Bizarre Science website: bq. "I grew up under Marxism. We suffered a lot. You can't find one grain of sand in Russia that is socialist. Kyoto has a similar smell, a very familiar smell. It will become a bureaucratic monster that will decide what happens in every country, their special quotas will throw a net over the world economy, and they will decide who has the right to live and who must die. We called our plans Gosplans, they were hopeless, they didn't work, but their aim was a growing economy. Kyoto is like a Gosplan, but it wants to preside over a declining economy. Kyoto is a death camp. Kyoto is an economic gulag for the world"
Posted by DaveH at 12:21 PM

Water on Mars

NASA called a press conference for 2:00pm EST today and they announced that parts of Mars that the rovers have explored were: bq. The outcrop right next to where Opportunity landed holds evidence that the rocks have spent time drenched in liquid water. bq. "Liquid water once flowed through these rocks. It changed their texture, and it changed their chemistry," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit. "We've been able to read the tell-tale clues the water left behind, giving us confidence in that conclusion." Very cool stuff...
Posted by DaveH at 11:45 AM

Accidental condom inhalation.

From AMCGLTD.COM comes this link to the National Institute of Health National Library of Medicine and an article dealing with the case of a 27-year-old lady presented with persistent cough, sputum and fever for the preceding six months.
Posted by DaveH at 9:50 AM

All in a Knight's work...

The Imperial Paladin Sir Banagor goes hunting one evening. Read about it here Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 8:27 AM

J. F. Kerry - AWOL

From a link by Instapundit to an article in the Boston Herald regarding John F. Kerry's stellar attendence record in the US Senate. bq. Presidential hopeful John F. Kerry has been a virtual no-show in the U.S. Senate over the past 14 months, but he hasn't missed a paycheck, even though a dusty federal law says some of his $158,000 salary should have been withheld. bq. During his run for the presidency, Kerry has missed every one of the 22 roll call votes in the Senate this year and was absent for 292, or 64 percent of the roll call votes last year, according to a Herald review of Senate records. This is his job right? I can see missing a couple of votes but every one this year and well over half of last year?
Posted by DaveH at 8:10 AM

March 1, 2004

Seattle is closer to France than to Texas

Hat tip to L.G.F. for this link to this article by Seattle P-I editorial cartoonist David Horsey: bq. The typical citizen of Seattle would feel more at home, ideologically speaking, in Paris than in Dallas. Yet, even a liberal Seattleite would be shocked by the images of America drawn by French schoolchildren. And more: bq. They might hate our president, but the French loved us -- which is no great surprise since most of what we said was what they wanted to hear... ...Nevertheless, we were brought in with the assumption that we would be Bush bashers and we lived up to expectations. bq. At one point, as we stood onstage getting our pictures taken with yet another student being awarded a prize for yet another anti-American image, I turned to Benson and said I felt like one of the Dixie Chicks, the all-girl country singers who got heat in the heartland for denouncing their president at a concert in Europe. We realized it was one thing for us to point out our country's flaws in our daily cartoons and quite another to see our homeland portrayed in such brutal imagery by French schoolkids echoing what they hear from their parents and teachers and see in the media. As Charles pointed out regarding this last paragraph: bq. "But Americans like Rall and Horsey do their best to feed it—and Horsey, for one, seems to be hearing the sound of chickens coming home to roost" And Horsey does seem to have some second thoughts - he says this: bq. As sharp critics who, nevertheless, love our home, we tried to point out that the America simplistically rendered in the children's drawings was a mere caricature, that our country, like theirs, is a complex society struggling to make real its founding principles of liberty, justice and equality. But it was impossible to move the conversation far from the president and his triumphalist foreign policy. Europeans are preoccupied with their disdain of Bush. But then he follows with this sentence: bq. It would be nice to think that, once the current occupants of the White House are retired to their ranches, think tanks and corporate boards, all will be harmonious again between old allies, and French schoolchildren will see America in a kinder light. Talk about out of touch with the realities of world politics... For an example of Mr. Horsey's cartooning, check this one out here. Goering=Bush indeed...
Posted by DaveH at 4:36 PM

Bottled water = Tap water

The shock! The HORROR! From the BBC - Coca Cola has admitted that its Dasani bottled water comes from the factory tap. From the article: bq. Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has admitted it is selling purified tap water in a bottle. It says the source for its new Dasani bottled water is the mains supply at its factory in Kent. bq. The company says Dasani is "as pure as bottled water gets" due to a "highly sophisticated purification process". Jen and I went to this auction looking for parts for our cider making business -- same deal there with city tap water run through Reverse Osmosis (not a big deal), Carbon block filter for taste removal, UV lights for sterilization and Ozone for the fresh taste. The Dasani water is nothing special, all the major bottlers use these methods of filtration because they are relatively cheap and effective. Still amazes me that people pay more for drinking water than for gasoline...
Posted by DaveH at 3:37 PM

Handy Aramaic phrases...

When seeing Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", the Guardian gives you some handy Aramaic phrases: bq. Shluukh kleelaa d-kuubayk, pquud. Laa meshkakh naa d-ekhzey l-ketaan tsuur- aathaa. (Could you take off your crown of thorns, please? I can't see the screen.) bq. Ktaabaa taab hwaa meneyh. (It's not as good as the book. ) And: bq. Ma'hed lee qalleel d-Khayey d-Breeyaan, ellaa dlaa gukhkaa. (It sort of reminds me of Life of Brian, but it's nowhere near as funny. ) There are a bunch more. Heh...
Posted by DaveH at 3:28 PM

A network of one's own...

Interesting writeup in about cities and municipal organizations (schools, etc... ) getting frustrated with traditional cable companies taking too long and charging too much for bandwidth that these organizations are taking matters in hand and doing it themselves. This approach is usually a lot cheaper too. From the article: bq. So far, their math appears to be working out. For a total cost of $2.2 million and a year's worth of work, Douglas County traded its old 1.5 megabit per second leased system for a brand-new 10 gigabit per second network--enough capacity to consider selling the excess for a profit. The new network, which is capable of carrying everything from voice to video to data, has also eliminated roughly $320,000 per year in recurring data communication charges, according to administrators. bq. "We can't lose on what we've done," said Lee Christianson, senior project manager for the school system's technology team. "The network will pay for itself in just a few years, and we haven't experienced any downtime at any of the schools that we've switched over to the fiber network." Heh... Jen and I are moving to a rural area in a few months and the only option for internet access is either dialup or T1 - I'm looking at splitting the cost of T1 with some neighbors. Community fiber would be a fantastic idea - I would subscribe to it without a second thought.
Posted by DaveH at 1:52 PM

Another voice on J. F. Kerry

Here is another voice decrying John Kerry's politicising his 'Vietnam Experience'. Hat tip to QandO for this link to Laura Bartholomew Armstrong: bq. I'm the daughter of Lt. Col. Roger J. "Black Bart" Bartholomew, a First Air Cavalry rocket artillery helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1968, when I was eight years old. I'm a former journalist with a military newspaper, a U.S. Marine widow, and I am appalled at Mr. Kerry's latest assertions that our president "has reopened the wounds of Vietnam." For months, I've heard President Bush talking about the present, while Mr. Kerry and the media want to focus on the past. I think we need to see the whole picture. And more: bq. Mr. Kerry has tried to distance himself from some anti-war activists and surround himself with veterans, yet his anti-military voting record speaks much louder and resonates with those of us who are affected by the results. I do not know who I am voting for - Bush is exactly the right person for foreign policy at this time but his domestic policies are not good. I do know that Kerry will not get my vote.
Posted by DaveH at 10:31 AM

Video compression

Interesting use of technology and the need for more bandwidth from DefenseTech. Noah points to an article in the NY Times on a small Scottish company that has developed the way to radically compress video. The issue here is that the military is making increased use of UAV's and wants to get live video feeds from all of these. Video is very bandwidth intensive and the networks are becoming overloaded. Compressing the signal would be a boon since you would not have to retrofit the entire battlefield LAN, only change the cameras and the receivers. The website for Essential Viewing is here -- looks like cool stuff...
Posted by DaveH at 9:35 AM